U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

A proposed federal regulation would limit the pharmaceutical chemicals reaching the nation’s waterways.

The rule will affect hospitals, clinics, pharmacies, and long-term care centers. They’ll be banned from flushing pharmaceuticals classified as hazardous waste down the drain. That includes chemotherapy drugs, blood thinners, nicotine and certain nutritional supplements. 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has released the results of dozens of water tests following the Gold King Mine spill last month. The tests were conducted at sites on Animas and San Juan rivers, other tributaries, on Lake Powell, and near the City of Page as recently as Aug. 25. 

Office of Emergency Management in La Plata County Colorado

A massive wastewater spill from a Colorado mine is expected to reach Lake Powell sometime this week.

About three million gallons of wastewater poured into the Animas River last Wednesday after a breach at a defunct gold mine near Silverton. The contaminated water has reached the San Juan River in New Mexico, which flows into Lake Powell on the Colorado River. 

Cynthia Sequanna is a spokesperson for the National Park Service.

Lake Mead National Recreation Area

Prolonged drought in the Southwest has caused a rapid drop in the water level of Lake Mead. That’s putting water supplies to some major cities in jeopardy. But it’s also exposed some of the area’s history and a long-submerged town. Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius reports. 

Farmers in central Arizona are working together to protect a precious resource that flows through their land. The Verde River supplies every drop of water they use for irrigation, and everything else in their lives. As the drought swallows up lakes and rivers across the West, Verde Valley farmers are embracing new and old technology to ensure their water supply doesn’t dry up. Arizona Public Radio’s Aaron Granillo reports.


After more than 15 years of negotiations, the state of Utah and the National Park Service signed a water rights agreement this spring for Arches National Park.

Melissa Sevigny

The City of Williams west of Flagstaff is in the process of drilling a new well. Like many places in the Southwest, it’s facing drought and rising demand. But there’s another reason water supply is a challenge in Williams.  A fluke of geology has forced the city to take the lead in the hunt for groundwater on the Colorado Plateau.    

Federal water managers are due to release a monthly projection of water levels at Lake Mead on Monday, and the rain in May might change what they say.

Last month, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation reported that the Colorado River reservoir behind Hoover Dam could reach a low point in January 2017 that would force supply cuts to Arizona and Nevada.

Officials heading water agencies in the two states and California took a wait-and-see approach, and pointed to fluctuations in regional precipitation since January.


Both of Arizona’s U.S. senators sent a letter yesterday to President Obama opposing the possible designation of the Grand Canyon Watershed National Monument. As Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius reports, they say such an action would represent a large federal overreach. 

U.S. Forest Service

After the recent snowstorms, water levels have nearly doubled in Lake Mary, one of Flagstaff’s primary water sources. As Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius reports, the reservoir is now nearly 60 percent full.