What drought? These states are gearing up to draw more water from the Colorado.

photo: the Colorado River

Photo: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

Wyoming wants to modify the Fontenelle Dam so it can use an extra 80,000 acre-feet of water from a tributary of the once-mighty Colorado River. At its headwaters, Denver Water hopes to expand a reservoir’s capacity by 77,000 acre-feet of water. And several hundred miles south, Utah is trying to build a pipeline that can funnel another 86,000 acre-feet out of the river.

There … [more…]

Plan for Colorado River draws on Blue Mesa, Flaming Gorge reservoirs

photo: low water level in reservoir. Plan to slow creeping Colorado River crisis could drain more water from Blue Mesa, Flaming Gorge reservoirs

Historic proposal to create a conservation bank of water in Lake Powell fed by reservoirs in Colorado, Utah, Wyoming and New Mexico would protect the withering Powell and requires approval of eight states and the federal government

Nearly two decades into a pervasive drought that has more to do with a warming climate than precipitation, the seven states that rely on the Colorado River are nearing completion of a seven-year … [more…]

Farmers drawing groundwater from Ogallala Aquifer faster than nature replaces it

drought map: Farmers are drawing groundwater from the giant Ogallala Aquifer faster than nature replaces it

Every summer the U.S. Central Plains go dry, leading farmers to tap into groundwater to irrigate sorghum, soy, cotton, wheat and corn and maintain large herds of cattle and hogs. As the heat rises, anxious irrigators gather to discuss whether and how they should adopt more stringent conservation measures.

They know that if they do not conserve, the Ogallala Aquifer, the source of their prosperity, will go dry.

The Ogallala, … [more…]

Did a huge Gillette water project frack-up rural wells?

Did a huge Gillette water project frack-up rural wells?

Michael Cranston’s family has ranched in Carlile since 1904. The rolling pine- and spruce-dotted Black Hills make Carlile — a quiet crossroads community between Moorcroft and Devil’s Tower — far more hospitable than the hardscrabble sagebrush plains stretching west toward Wyoming’s coal capital, Gillette.

Also attractive to Cranston and his ancestors was a seemingly bountiful underground asset – potable groundwater. They weren’t the only ones to notice. In the early