Water

3:00pm

Fri April 4, 2014
Environment

Waters Will Flood Part Of Colorado River, For Just A Few Weeks

Originally published on Fri April 4, 2014 6:03 pm

Thanks to an agreement between the U.S. and Mexico, water is flowing to 35 million people in both countries along the Colorado River Delta. At least for now.
Ted Robbins/NPR

Millions of gallons of water used to flow every day from the Rocky Mountains to the Gulf of California. Now, the Colorado River ends at Morelos Dam on the U.S.-Mexico border. Below it, one of North America's largest wetlands is dry.

Karl Flessa, a geoscientist at the University of Arizona, began researching the damage two decades ago. Then he started asking how much water it would take to bring back some of the habitats.

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5:00am

Mon March 31, 2014

2:31am

Thu March 20, 2014
The Salt

Nevada Farmers Hack The Drought By Switching Up The Crops

Originally published on Wed April 30, 2014 10:25 am

An alfalfa farmer on the Duck Valley Reservation in Nevada laser levels a field to more evenly and efficiently distribute water. While alfalfa is still the main crop for many farmers in northern Nevada, some are experimenting with grapes, too.
USDAgov/Flickr

Take a drive around the perimeter of Colby Frey's farm in Nevada and it's clear you're kind of on an island — an oasis of green surrounded by a big, dusty desert.

Nearby, a neighbor's farm has recently gone under. And weeds have taken over an abandoned farmhouse in the next property over.

"It's just kind of sad, because it seems like it's kind of slowly creeping towards us," says Frey, a fifth-generation farmer trying to adapt to the current drought in California and in the far West.

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6:37am

Wed March 19, 2014
Water

Colorado Leads The Way On 'Small Hydro'

Steve Fletcher, manager of the Uncompahgre Valley Water Users Association, looks out over the South Canal, a small hydro project east of Montrose, Colo.
Sam Fuqua RMCR

For much of the 20th century, hydroelectric technology led to the construction of giant dams across the American West and around the world. Big hydro projects have a big impact on surrounding ecosystems, Colorado is at the center of a growing move toward hydropower on a smaller scale.

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3:12pm

Sun March 2, 2014
The Salt

Even In A Desert, Drought Spells Trouble For Ranchers

Originally published on Sun March 2, 2014 5:09 pm

No snowpack, no hay: In the northern Nevada, cattle feed is getting hard to come by, as sources of water diminish in supply.
Frederic J. Brown AFP/Getty Images

In northern Nevada, a place famous for its wide, open spaces and expansive cattle operations, ranchers are in a bind due to the historic drought.

Much of the state is desert, so when people talk about drought, they're really talking about the snowpack in the Sierra Nevada. It's at barely 20 percent of average.

This is a huge concern for farmers and ranchers like Julie Wolf, because the mountains store the snow that melts and feeds rivers and reservoirs. These bodies of water then allow the desert to bloom with grass and alfalfa for her cattle.

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