Bureau of Reclamation

A private company has filed paperwork to prepare plans for a large hydroelectric dam in Alaska. Glacial Energy LLC, based in Wasilla, Alaska, is seeking a preliminary permit from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for a 113-meter (370-foot) high dam on the Talkeetna River, some 177 kilometers (110 miles) north of Anchorage. The permit allows […]

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Water Supply The overuse of groundwater in India is creating tensions between farmers and businesses, adding to the urgency of developing a better management system, Bloomberg News reported. For example, farmers in Uttar Pradesh say that a nearby Coca Cola plant has drawn down groundwater reserves so far that they are repeatedly forced to dig […]

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U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulations are insufficient for guarding against pesticides, heavy metals, solvents, and other hazardous chemicals being put into waterways from sewage treatment plants, according to an investigation by the agency’s internal watchdog. Hazardous chemicals come under two sets of regulations. The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) applies to most circumstances, and […]

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The potential for violence, conflict, and government upheaval arising from natural resource scarcity and a warming planet continues to catch the eye of America’s top spooks. “Competition for scarce resources, such as food, water, or energy, will likely increase tensions within and between states and could lead to more localized or regional conflicts, or exacerbate […]

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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency criticized a $US 25 billion water supply and ecosystem restoration plan for California’s Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, saying that the plan would violate federal Clean Water Act standards for water quality and may not produce the desired habitat improvements. The delta is the largest estuary on the U.S. west coast and […]

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New legislation proposes that the federal government spend $US 700 million over five years to subsidize the purchase of appliances, fixtures, and related products that save water and energy. Introduced by four western U.S. congressional representatives, the Water in the 21st Century Act includes several other provisions. The bill establishes a grant program for helping […]

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Computer models forecast a low-oxygen “dead zone” of average size for the Gulf of Mexico this summer and a slightly above-average fish-suffocation zone for the Chesapeake Bay, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The standard unit for comparing the size of dead zones is the “New England state.” The Gulf of Mexico will […]

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Energy & Natural Resources As many as 15,000 people, many of them Q’eqchi Mayans, will be displaced by the construction of a $US 337 million hydropower project in Guatemala, the Guardian reported. The Xalalá dam would be the second largest in the country, and the government has has vowed to build the project despite local […]

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How much benzene should be allowed in a liter of river water? Or how about vinyl chloride? The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has a new answer for 94 federally regulated chemicals, though states and tribes will be the ultimate arbiters. The EPA is updating human health benchmarks for chemical concentrations in rivers, lakes, and streams […]

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture brought a bounty of farm data to the public market on Friday when it released the 2012 agriculture census. Published every five years, the census is a trove of information down to the county level on production practices, farm economics, and rural demographics. Being a water news site, Circle of […]

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Air, land, and water. Greek elements each, the basic substances of life will have a turn in the American spotlight in the coming weeks and months. First in line is land. Data from the 2012 Census of Agriculture will be released online May 2. Published every five years, the census is the most comprehensive picture […]

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The slow dance between the Obama administration and a controversial oil pipeline that has become a symbol of an era will take another spin around the floor. The White House delayed a final decision on the Keystone XL pipeline, through which heavy crude from the Alberta tar sands will flow. Senior State Department officials blamed […]

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A major Bureau of Reclamation study depicts widespread changes in the coming decades for water supply and demand in California’s Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers, as well as for water quality in the delta ecosystem where the two rivers intersect. The study, to be released publically later this month, uses climate models and population trends […]

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SanLuis1000

State leaders face infrastructure decisions now that will have consequences for decades.

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Building a long-debated reservoir in the Sierra Nevada foothills 40 kilometers (25 miles) northeast of Fresno would improve river habitat for salmon but would provide little additional water for farmers and cities, according to a Bureau of Reclamation feasibility report. The $US 2.6 billion Temperance Flat Dam would create a reservoir with a capacity of […]

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Most farmers in California who have contracts with the Central Valley Project, a federal canal system, will get no water this year, according to initial projections by the Bureau of Reclamation, which operates the canals. Contractors that supply water to industries and cities in the Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys, the canal system’s service area, […]

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Dropping When It’s Hot The Santa Ana watershed, home to 6 million people in Southern California, faces a number of threats to its water supply because of climate change, according to a comprehensive Bureau of Reclamation study. River flows and precipitation will decrease, as will the amount of water infiltrating the basin’s aquifers, which provide […]

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Fire Hydrants The margin was atypical but not unprecedented. The House voted unanimously last week 384-0 to strike down a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposal that would require fire hydrants to cut the amount of lead in their piping. Representatives from both sides of the aisle agreed with national drinking water lobby groups, who claim […]

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Too Many Vitamins A phosphorous target for the Maumee River, a key tributary, and prohibitions on certain fertilizers in lawn-care products are two of 15 recommendations in a draft plan for reducing algal blooms in Lake Erie. The plan comes from the commission that manages waters shared by Canada and the United States. The International […]

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Expand the Scope In addition to recognized goals of hydropower production and flood control, a new Columbia River Treaty with Canada should protect salmon, according to draft recommendations from stakeholders in the Pacific Northwest. A “modernized” treaty should increase summer flows, allow flexibility to adapt to climate change, and consider dam modifications that allow fish […]

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