Tag Archives: water

Fresh Water is Becoming Scarcer with the Planet's Changing Climate

City of Phoenix invests to protect water supplies

The Phoenix City Council has approved a three-year partnership with the National Forest Foundation (NFF) to help protect Phoenix’s water supply. The NFF’s work will consist of watershed improvement projects on National Forest lands in northern Arizona.

Through the partnership, the City of Phoenix will invest $200,000 per year in the Northern Arizona Forest Fund, a program developed by the NFF and Salt River Project (SRP) that is designed to improve forest health and water quality in the Salt and Verde River watersheds.

The National Forests in northern Arizona provide most of the water to the Salt and Verde Rivers, which are vital surface water supplies to downstream users in the greater Phoenix metropolitan areas. Most of Arizona’s surface water resources are sustained by high-elevation forested watersheds that capture rain and snow and then carry surface water downstream. Past forest management practices have created conditions that challenge the health of Arizona’s forests and the sustainability and quality of Arizona’s water supplies.

Developed in partnership with SRP, the NFF’s Northern Arizona Forest Fund works with local governments, businesses and Arizona residents that want to invest in the lands and watersheds they depend on. The NFF then partners with the U.S. Forest Service, local nonprofits, and private contractors to implement projects that reduce wildfire risk, improve streams and wetlands, enhance wildlife habitat, restore native plants, and limit erosion and sediment into Arizona streams, rivers, and reservoirs.

“It is critical, particularly in the midst of a long drought, that we restore our forests and protect watersheds from catastrophic fire,” said U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.). “This partnership between the City of Phoenix, SRP and the National Forest Foundation, is just the type of collaboration that will safeguard the forests and our water supply.”

“In an era of climate change and continued drought, the City of Phoenix must take direct steps to protect the lifeblood of our economy – our water supply,” said Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton. “This partnership will do exactly that. We must protect and preserve the rivers and watersheds that our City relies upon for continued economic prosperity.”

The NFF and SRP launched the Northern Arizona Forest Fund in 2014 with the goals of connecting Phoenix area residents and business with the forests and watersheds where their surface water supplies are born, and spurring investment in the health of those watersheds.

“The water from the watersheds that fill the reservoirs in SRP’s water system starts as snow in the forests of northern Arizona,” said General Manager Mark Bonsall, SRP’s chief executive officer. “Stewardship of these watersheds is a fundamental principle for SRP. That’s why we are working with our partners and customers to address important forest health issues. We are very pleased that the City of Phoenix has decided to be the first municipality to partner with us and the NFF in this important effort. Phoenix’s leadership in supporting restoration of our watersheds demonstrates a real commitment to the long-term vitality of the Valley.”

“Looking at the detrimental effects and costs that unhealthy forests and wildfire can have on water quality, this partnership was an easy decision,” said Councilman Bill Gates. Following the 2002 Colorado Hayman Fire, Denver Water has spent over $45 million reducing post-fire erosion into streams and dredging sediment from reservoirs. “This is a sensible, relatively low-cost approach for helping ensure reliable water supplies for our citizens,” said Councilwoman Thelda Williams. “I applaud our Water Services Department for helping develop this important partnership.”

Municipal investments in watershed health are becoming more common across the West. Cities like Denver, Santa Fe, and Flagstaff have formed partnerships to support forest health work in their watersheds. “The City of Phoenix has demonstrated its foresight and commitment to sustainability by joining with us on the Northern Arizona Forest Fund,” said Bill Possiel, NFF President. “Although other Western cities are investing in watershed health projects, most are located in close proximity to their forested watersheds. With this partnership, the City of Phoenix is truly setting an example for other municipalities that are more remote from, but still dependent on, water supplies that originate on National Forest lands.”

Implementation of the Northern Arizona Forest Fund’s first two projects is already underway. One project is designed to reduce wildfire risk and protect endangered species habitat near the Happy Jack area on the Coconino National Forest. The other project will reduce erosion and sedimentation into Oak Creek by improving drainage from forest roads on the Coconino National Forest near Sedona.

In 2016, the Northern Arizona Forest Fund will implement six high priority projects on all five National Forests in northern Arizona – the Apache-Sitgreaves, Coconino, Kaibab, Prescott, and Tonto National Forests.

The City’s strategic role and the overall success of the Northern Arizona Forest Fund will be a key topic at the third annual conference on forest and watershed health, “Finding Solutions: Healthy Forests, Vibrant Economy,” scheduled for Oct. 7-8 at the Doubletree Resort by Hilton in Scottsdale.

For more information on the Northern Arizona Forest Fund, contact Marcus Selig, NFF’s Southern Rockies Regional Director at mselig@nationalforests.org or visit https://www.nationalforests.org/who-we-are/regional-offices/southernrockies/azforestfund or http://www.srpnet.com/water/forest/.

Green Law - Valley Forward’s Goals Are Important To Dan Litteral’s Company, Apollo Group

Albert Acken joins Ryley Carlock

image004Ryley Carlock & Applewhite announced that Albert “Bert” H. Acken has been named Practice Group Leader of the firm’s Water, Energy, Resources and Environmental Law Practice Group.

Acken will oversee 12 attorneys in our Phoenix and Denver offices, which provide a full range of knowledge in water law, environmental regulation, environmental litigation, environmental legislation, natural resource strategies, and power-related issues. The group represents municipalities, banks, golf course developers, homebuilders, and a diverse cross-section of public and private enterprises.

Acken’s practice focuses on environmental permitting and compliance, siting of utility infrastructure projects, and environmental due diligence. His clients include leaders in aggregate mining, hard rock mining, construction, energy, and manufacturing. He serves as board counsel for an aggregate mining trade association and is also an appointed member on the Arizona Mining Advisory Council, which advises state agencies on proposed rules, policies and budget allocations affecting the mining industry.

heat relief network - hot sun

Summer Heat Relief Campaign Kicks off May 1

Scorching temperatures are a health hazard to the Valley’s homeless and elderly shut-ins, and one non-profit organization is mobilizing to prevent heat-related deaths and illnesses among this vulnerable, growing population.

Phoenix Rescue Mission is partnering with several municipalities and businesses to launch its new “Code Red: Summer Heat Relief Campaign” on Wed., May 1. While the Mission has conducted annual summer water drives for several years, “Code Red” elevates the urgency of the call to action with a public plea for water, white socks, toiletries, cool snack packs, hats, light-colored T-shirts, sunglasses, sunscreen, chapstick, chilly neck coolers and more. Volunteers are needed to help with distribution efforts and other tasks. Monetary donations are also requested, particularly in May when the Mission qualifies for a matching grant made possible by several friends of the Phoenix Rescue Mission that ends May 31.

“The majority of homeless people on the streets are battling addiction challenges, which means many of them are already severely dehydrated because of their substance abuse. Combine that with extreme heat and it can be fatal,” said Jay Cory, Phoenix Rescue Mission president and CEO.

Arizona ranks as the 4th worst state in the nation for homelessness. A startling 13,248 men, women and children are homeless in Maricopa County, according to the most recent Maricopa Association of Governments street count and point-in-time shelter data. In addition, Phoenix was recently identified in a national HUD survey as one of the few places in the U.S. where the homeless street population has actually grown by 11 percent in 2012 as compared to 2011.

Public drop-off sites for water, socks, sunscreen, hats, toiletries and other heat relief items are located throughout the Valley. For a complete list of items needed and drop-off locations, visit www.phoenixrescuemission.org.

Phoenix Rescue Mission provides Christ-centered, life-transforming solutions to persons facing hunger and homelessness. The non-profit Mission, which has been operating since 1952, is asking the public for support of its many programs designed to save lives, including Hope Coach Street Outreach, Homeless Emergency Services, Men’s Addiction Recovery Program and the new Changing Lives Center for Women and Children. For more information, call (602) 346-3342 or visit www.phoenixrescuemission.org.

Western Water

Colorado River viewed as vanishing resource

The federal government isn’t going to tap the Missouri River to slake the thirst of a drought-parched Southwest, the government’s top water official said Wednesday.

But rising demand and falling supply have water managers in the arid West considering a host of other options to deal with dire projections that the Colorado River — the main water supply for a region larger than the country of France — won’t be able over the next 50 years to meet demands of a regional population now about 40 million and growing.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar issued what he termed “a call to action” with a three-year study of the river, its flows and its ability to meet the future needs of city-dwellers, Native Americans, businesses, ranchers and farmers in seven Western states.

“We are in a troubling trajectory in the Colorado River basin, as well as the Rio Grande basin,” Salazar told reporters on a conference call outlining the math in the findings of the Colorado River Basin Water Supply and Demand Study.

Salazar, who oversees water managers and dam operators at the federal Bureau of Reclamation, dismissed as politically and technically impractical some ideas in the study, including piping water from the nation’s heartland or towing Arctic icebergs south to help such thirsty U.S. cities as Denver, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Phoenix.

He said he wanted to focus instead on “solutions that are out there that will help us.”

“There is no one solution that is going to meet the needs of this challenge,” Salazar said. “We need to reduce our demand through conservation. We also need to augment supply with practical measures.”

Salazar and Bureau of Reclamation officials warned that the Colorado River’s historical 15 million acre-feet per year flow has been reduced by 12 years of drought to about 12 million acre-feet. Officials say an acre-foot can meet the water needs of up two families per year.

Water interests and the states of Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming together lay claim to all the water in the river and then some.

Mexico also has a stake in the river, and officials last month set new rules to share Colorado River water south of the border and let Mexico store water in Lake Mead near Las Vegas.

The study projects that by 2060 the river flow could fall 3.2 million to 8 million acre-feet short of regional needs.

A “very believable estimate” using climate change scenarios projects the river flow increasing to just 13.7 million acre-feet per year by 2060, said Kay Brothers, a former Southern Nevada Water Authority executive in Las Vegas who co-managed the study.

“We’re going to have problems in the future meeting the demands of the Colorado River basin,” Brothers said. “We have to begin now starting to put measures in place to meet the imbalance and prepare for a drier future.”

Even before the report was released, some advocates criticized it as a “fundamentally flawed,” and based on inflated projections of the amount of water in the river and the number of people in the region.

“States cooked the books to show higher demand for water consumption to set up a federal bailout on expensive water projects,” said Molly Mugglestone, director of the advocacy group Protect the Flows.

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Navajos to build portion of major water pipeline

The Navajo Nation and the U.S. Department of the Interior have reached a financial agreement to have the tribe build 43 miles of a major water pipeline, according to the Associated Press.

The 280-mile, $1 billion Navajo-Gallup Water Supply Project will serve Navajo communities in New Mexico and Arizona, the city of Gallup and parts of the Jicarilla Apache Nation in northern New Mexico.

Federal officials announced an agreement Thursday to provide the Navajo Nation with $43 million to design and build a portion of the pipeline along U.S. 550 south of Farmington, N.M., a pumping station and four storage tanks.

Water delivery could begin in 2015. The entire project will take longer to complete.

Federal legislation passed in 2009 settled the Navajo water claims in the San Juan River basin and authorized the pipeline.