Thursday, Sept. 21, 2017


The West's wildfires are taking a toll on reservoirs

here has been so much sedimentation at the Paonia Reservoir in Gunnison County, Colorado, that the bottom of the lake is now above the outlet. (Jeffrey Beall / Flickr)


Water Deeply & U.S. Geological Survey

New research predicts that an increase in the frequency and magnitude of wildfires will double the rates of sedimentation in one-third of the West's large watersheds, reducing reservoir storage and affecting water supplies. According to a new study from the U.S. Geological Survey, in many regions, erosion rates are accelerating because of wildfires and climate change. In almost nine out of 10 of the watersheds assessed, sedimentation could increase by at least 10 percent. In some watersheds, the increase could be by 1,000 percent.


Breakthrough discovery crucial to Arizona water

Water Deeply

Summer monsoon storms provide a significant share of the water that allows the Southwest to thrive. These storms can deliver more than half a year’s precipitation. But how do they traverse a region that is also bisected by tall mountain ranges? Thomas Galarneau thinks he has an answer. The University of Arizona professor's new study identifies a previously unrecognized terrain feature that may be responsible for passing most of the monsoons that reach Arizona.


Booming Utah searches for water solutions

Wall Street Journal

Mormon pioneers believed they’d found a promised land when they arrived at the Great Salt Lake 170 years ago. Since then, that body of water has shrunk to a depth of about 14 feet — nearly half its former average. Under a controversial engineering plan that would siphon river water from the lake to Salt Lake City, the lake would recede even further. Critics note that the diversion would expose 30 square miles of lake bed, worsening dust storms and wetlands habitat.