water

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.

Courtesy

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.

AP

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.

USGS

The Environmental Protection Agency is considering an update to the federal Clean Water Act. But, as Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius reports, an Arizona congressman is trying to prevent that change from going into effect.

The Environmental Protection Agency is revising the Clean Water Act to clarify which waters are protected. As Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius reports, both of Arizona’s U.S. senators see the agency’s move as an expansion of federal environmental regulation that could harm the state’s economy.

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