American Southwest

After nearly a month of terse exchanges among water managers in Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico, Utah and Arizona about Colorado River conservation strategies, representatives from the five states met Monday in Salt Lake City to hash out their differences.

At issue is how the Central Arizona Project (CAP) -- the operator of a 336-mile aqueduct that pumps Colorado River water to farmers and cities -- is conserving water in Lake Mead, the river’s largest reservoir. The project is managed by the Central Arizona Water Conservancy District (CAWCD) and is the state’s largest water provider.

A quiet, rising tension over water in the southwest has burst into the public square.

Agencies that manage and dole out the Colorado River’s water in Colorado, Wyoming, Utah and New Mexico are attempting to publicly shame an increasingly isolated water agency in Arizona. The feud has the potential to either upset, or reignite, negotiations over the river’s future.

From the roof of Chuck McAfee’s adobe farmhouse in rural southwestern Colorado, you can see into three other states: Arizona, New Mexico and Utah. Mountain peaks are just barely visible above the horizon.

Even though this part of Montezuma County is considered the high desert, it’s common for these grass and sagebrush hills to be snow-covered into spring. This year they’re bare, and have been since last winter.

Toby R. Ault, Justin S. Mankin, Benjamin I. Cook and Jason E. Smerdon / Journal: Science Advances

A recent study shows megadroughts could become more common throughout the Southwest. The study suggests droughts lasting at least 35 years will become longer and dryer as temperatures continue to rise.

USGCRP

A recently released study suggests droughts in the southwest could last longer and have more severe impacts in the future.  The study, performed by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), compared 35 years of observational data to existing climate models.

Thursday Newscast, 9/10/15, 6:04 PM

Sep 10, 2015

Newscast for Thursday, September 10, 205, 6:04 PM:
 

Sally King / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

A new study released by the U.S. Geological Survey looks at the effects of climate change on certain species in the American Southwest.  KRCC’s Eliza Densmore reports.
 

The study focuses on twelve bird and reptile species in the southwest and how they’re expected to endure changes in breeding ranges and habitats.