New agreements and the first cutbacks in water usage signal the start of concerted efforts keep the river and reservoirs from dropping to dangerous levels.
Ian James reports that water deliveries from the Colorado River will be reduced for Arizona, Nevada, and Mexico next year. Projections show that the water level of Lake Mead, which is now 39 percent full, will drop to below threshold levels at the start of the year. California and Mexico have also agreed to contribute water to the reservoir if levels continue to drop.
"The Colorado River’s reservoirs have dropped dramatically since 2000 during one of the most extreme droughts in centuries. Farms and cities across the Southwest have long been taking more from the river than what flows into it, and climate change is adding to the strains by pushing up temperatures," notes James.
This is the first time such restrictions have gone into place. Even with a winter of heavy snows that increased runoff into Lake Mead, reduced stream flow and more evaporation in past years from rising temperatures were pointing to future shortages.
"[Jennifer Pitt] said having the drought agreement in place now gives water managers several years to study scenarios of extremes, and come up with new rules to 'create the resilience that we need in the Colorado River basin to respond to whatever conditions are coming our way,'" notes James.
The Unceremonious Death of a Freeway Expansion Project
The end of an Oregon freeway project didn't get much fanfare, but the victory is worth celebrating.
Converting Golf Courses to Housing Never as Easy as the Market Would Like
Thousands of golf courses have closed in recent years, but the obvious redevelopment opportunity represented by many defunct courses isn’t always easy to realize.
Houston To End Bike Share Program
Lacking the funding it needs to continue, Houston’s BCycle bike share system will end operations in the coming months.
FTA Announces Tribal Transit Program Grants
The agency awarded close to $10 million to 22 communities around the country for transit improvements.
Making Colorado’s Front Range Rail a Reality
Local leaders are scrambling to bring together the funding and political support to create new intercity rail service in the fast-growing region.
How College Campuses Fulfill an Urbanist Dream
Most college campuses in the United States are inherently walkable, mixing various uses with diverse housing options and transit networks.
HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research
Mpact: Mobility, Community, Possibility
Lassen County Planning and Building Services
City of San Carlos
National Capital Planning Commission
This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.