Park Service to spend $5 million chasing water at Lake Mead

With Lake Mead projected to drop 15 feet between now and mid summer, to historic lows, the National Park Service is planning to spend another $5 million extending boat ramps, Steven Slivka at the Boulder City Review reported today: Vanover said drought conditions are expected to continue, and the Park Service is ready to deal …

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Hoover Dam’s cobwebbed spillway*

Erika Moonin, the Southern Nevada Water Authority’s engineering project manager for construction of the agency’s new Lake Mead intakes, showed me a picture yesterday of water pouring over Hoover Dam’s spillways in 1983, the last time the reservoir spilled. When she was a youngster, her dad took her out to see the spectacle. Looking at …

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Springs Preserve, Las Vegas, Nev.

LAS VEGAS – I like the fact that Las Vegas, Nev., is┬ápreserving the relics of its water origin story. From “spring hill” at the Springs Preserve municipal park, you can see the towers of Las Vegas’s gambling strip. Visitation at the park this afternoon when I snuck away for a bird-watching walk after a morning …

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A word of caution about what “Upper Colorado” means

People monitoring snowpack and planning for the coming water year use two quite different definitions for the “Upper Colorado” basin/headwaters/watershed. One definition involves the watershed above Glenwood Springs, within the state of Colorado, where the branch of the big river once known as the “Grand” and then renamed the “Colorado” begins. (Bob in the comments …

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Bathtub Ring, and yet more thoughts on why Lake Mead is dropping

Here’s my obligatory picture of Lake Mead’s bathtub ring, as seen this afternoon from Hoover Dam: The surface elevation this afternoon was 1,088.97 feet above sea level, the lowest it’s been at this time of year since 1956. It has dropped 20 feet since this time a year ago, which is among the biggest one-year …

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“half-told stories about the value of water”

PARKER STRIP – In 2005, according to the Bureau of Land Management, the 16 concessionaires leasing BLM land along this strip of the Colorado River reported more than 4 million “visitor days”, people like these motorboaters enjoying a warm (but not hot) late winter day on the river. That’s a mobile home and RV park …

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Megadrought paper: message received, now what do we do?

The new paper by Ben Cook and colleagues clarifying our understanding the risk of megadrought in the southwestern United States has rightly gotten a lot of attention. Combining paleo records and modeling of a changing climate under rising greenhouse gas scenarios, Cook and his colleagues have created some scary reading: [F]uture drought risk will likely …

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