water

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.

Photo by Laurel Morales

Federal officials are cutting off water to some California farms stuck in the worst drought on record. At the same time Arizona farmers are irrigating their fields with the diminishing Colorado River. They’re using the water to grow most of the country’s winter vegetables, and even shipping some crops to China. In the final part of the series Pipe Dreams, a look at the controversy of indirectly exporting water overseas.

Laurel Morales

Most people are squeamish about the notion of consuming recycled wastewater. But experts say we might have to get used to the idea, given our current drought and the growing population in the Southwest. How does that water get clean enough to drink?

Photo by Laurel Morales

California is coping with the worst drought in recorded history. California’s governor has asked state residents to cut back water use by 20 percent. The rest of the Southwest is also experiencing extreme to severe drought. In the first part of a water series we’re calling Pipe Dreams, Laurel Morales of our Changing America Desk went to Las Vegas to talk to a woman who has redefined water management in the west — outgoing water czar Pat Mulroy.

Photo by Aaron Granillo

This past weekend, downtown Flagstaff transformed into an urban snowboarding course for the third annual Dew Downtown event. And between all of the tricks, jumps, grinds and grabs, there was also controversy. As Arizona Public Radio’s Aaron Granillo reports, some locals were upset that the man-made snow for the course came from Flagstaff’s drinking water supply.

Pages