Tag Archives: By L. Owens Viani

Tier Drops

Water out West is disappearing. Seven states, 30 tribes, and millions of people will need to adjust.

By Lisa Owens Viani

The Central Arizona Project carries Colorado River water across a stretch of desert north of Bouse, Arizona. Photo © Ted Wood/The Water Desk.

In early August 2021, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation declared the first ever Tier 1 shortage for the Colorado River, based on the agency’s projection that Lake Mead would drop below a threshold of 1,075 feet above sea level in January. Water levels in the river’s two main reservoirs—Lake Powell (behind Glen Canyon Dam in Arizona) and Lake Mead (behind Hoover Dam on the Arizona–Nevada border)—are now at their lowest since they were filled and flows in the river have declined. Continue reading Tier Drops

One Big Picture

A cool map for a warming watershed arrives at the right moment.

By Lisa Owens Viani

As the western United States continues to wither in an extended drought, the Colorado River’s two largest reservoirs, Lake Mead and Lake Powell, have fallen to their lowest levels since they were first filled—Lake Mead in 1935 and Lake Powell in 1963—according to John Fleck, a professor of practice in water policy and governance in the Department of Economics and director of the Water Resources Program at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque. Continue reading One Big Picture

A Landmark Law Passed for Land and Water Conservation

The Great American Outdoors Act permanently funds the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

By Lisa Owens Viani

Congress puts permanent cash behind the Land and Water Conservation Fund and improvements to national parks. C-SPAN screen capture by LAM.

On July 22, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Great American Outdoors Act, a milestone law to lock in permanent federal funding for public lands and parks. Continue reading A Landmark Law Passed for Land and Water Conservation

Floods that Know No Bounds

This article is also available in Spanish. (For a full list of translated articles, please click here.)

Two countries. One troubled watershed. No solution—yet.

By Lisa Owens Viani

Named for the walnut trees that used to line its banks, the Arroyo de los Nogales, a tributary of the Santa Cruz River, flows from south to north, descending from the high Sonoran desert in Mexico into Arizona. Continue reading Floods that Know No Bounds

Lots of Opportunity

In Great Lakes cities, derelict parcels sponge up stormwater.

By Lisa Owens Viani

The former vacant lot on Lawrence Place in Buffalo is now a rain garden with a picnic area and handball court. Image courtesy Sandra Albro, Holden Forests & Gardens.

Eight years ago, Sandra Albro, a research associate in applied urban ecology at the Cleveland Botanical Garden (now Holden Forests & Gardens) began to think about opportunities lurking in the city’s vacant lots—in particular how to help cities with their water quality problems. Continue reading Lots of Opportunity