Watershed Info No 1128

Daniel Salzler                                                                                                          No. 1128

EnviroInsight.org                                   Five  Items                                December 17, 2021

—————Feel Free To Pass This Along To Others——————

If your watershed is doing something you would like others to know about, or you know of something others

can benefit from, let me know and I will place it in this Information newsletter.

If you want to be removed from the distribution list, please let me know.

Please note that all meetings listed are open.

Enhance your viewing by downloading the pdf file to view photos, etc. The

attached is all about improving life in the watershed. If you want to be removed from

the distribution list, please let me know. Please note that all meetings listed are open.

Enhance your viewing by downloading the attached pdf file to view photos, etc.

The attached is all about improving life in the watershed.

Read this newsletter at EnviroInsight.org

  1. EPA Announces Over $3 Million in Funding to Small Businesses to Develop Environmental Technologies

WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced $3,089,894 in funding to 30 American small businesses to develop novel technologies to address pressing environmental and public health problems. These companies are employing innovative approaches like an automated waste sorting system at the point of disposal; a system that employs technology to capture and destroy airborne bacteria and viruses; and a monitoring system that can map methane concentrations and emissions over large areas.

“As emerging technologies continue to rapidly change the world, our nation’s small businesses are at the forefront of harnessing these technologies to address today’s environmental challenges,” said Wayne Cascio, Acting Principal Deputy Assistant Administrator in EPA’s Office of Research and Development. “We are excited to watch these small companies bring innovative ideas to the marketplace and help revolutionize improving our environment, public health and the economy.”EPA’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program runs an annual, two-phase competitionfor funding.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency

Companies that complete Phase I can then apply to receive Phase II funding of up to $400,000 to further develop and commercialize their technology.

To learn more about EPA’s SBIR program, please visit: https://www.epa.gov/sbir .  Learn more about the Federal SBIR Program: www.SBIR.gov

2. ADEQ PUBLIC NOTICE | Proposed SIP Revision: 2012 Fine Particulate Matter and the 2015 Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standard.

ADEQ welcomes comments during this second comment period and public hearing on the proposed infrastructure state implementation plan (SIP) revision for the 2012 Fine Particulate Matter and the 2015 Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS).

The purpose of the proposed SIP revision is to bring the nonattainment area into compliance with federal requirements for infrastructure as required under CAA Title I, Part D for the 2012 Fine Particulate Matter and the 2015 Ozone NAAQS. ADEQ is requesting the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approve this SIP revision into the Arizona SIP.

Review Documents

            Original Published Public Notice |: https://static.azdeq.gov/pn/211213_siprev_naaqs_pn.pdf

            Proposed SIP Revision : https://static.azdeq.gov/pn/211213_siprev_naaqs.pdf

Comment Period

Dec. 13, 2021 – Jan. 13, 2022

You can submit comments by one of the following:

By Email:  Send Email > 

By Mail:  1110 W. Washington St. Phoenix, AZ 85007

  Must be postmarked or received no later than Jan. 13, 2022

 Lisa Tomczak
Air Quality Division
1110 W. Washington St.
Phoenix, AZ 85007

At the Virtual Public Hearing: Comments are also welcome at the following virtual public hearing:

Date: Jan. 13, 2022

Time: 11 a.m.

Location: Online via GoToWebinar | Register to Join >

   After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about  joining the webinar

3. With The Colorado River In Crisis, Those Who Decide Its Future Gather With A Sense Of Urgency  By Alex Hager/KUNC   The river that supplies water to 40 million people in the Southwest is alarmingly dry. Since the federal government declared a water shortage this summer for the first time, the Colorado River has been thrust into national headlines, and so have the scientists and decision makers who track and shape its future.

Next week, hundreds of them will gather under one roof for the first time since the shortage was declared in August. This will be the 76th time the Colorado River Water Users Association has met, but this year’s conference in Las Vegas will be under a new magnifying glass.

“This used to be more regional,” said John Entsminger, general manager of the Southern Nevada Water Authority. “Maybe occasionally a national story. But we saw people discussing the Colorado River as a case study in Glasgow. So there certainly is a lot more attention being paid to it.”

Entsminger was alluding to COP26, the United Nations climate conference held in Scotland this summer. Beyond the increased media attention – Entsminger said he’s done “dozens and dozens of interviews” with news outlets from all over the world – conditions in the basin are deteriorating more quickly than water managers had hoped, providing an inescapably urgent backdrop to discussions.

“It’s one thing to know something intellectually,” he said, “And then another thing, at least for us in Las Vegas, to see Lake Mead in your backyard drop that quickly.”

The meeting in Las Vegas brings together a wide array of groups who stake a claim to portions of the river’s water, which feeds homes, businesses and farms from Wyoming to Mexico, including seven states and 30 federally recognized native tribes.

Those groups are under increasing pressure to negotiate agreements that would allow the region to move forward while drawing from a shrinking water supply. The first such agreements were part of the Colorado River Compact, which was signed in 1922.

This summer’s shortage declaration was triggered by dropping levels in Lake Mead, but it’s the culmination of more than two decades of drought. Scientists say unprecedented heat, driven by human-caused greenhouse gas emissions, is causing a chain of effects that includes less snow, shorter, warmer winters, drier soil and parched rivers and streams.

Watershed Info 1128 EnviroInsight

At the same time, those who manage the region’s water are having to allocate that smaller supply in the face of growing demand. Cities from Denver to Phoenix to San Diego, including many with steadily growing populations, depend on water from the Colorado. Agriculture uses about 80% of the river’s water, and it increasingly has come into the crosshairs of public scrutiny.

Balancing the interests of different stakeholders is tricky, Entsminger said, but he cited several occasions since the turn of the millennium in which tense negotiations eventually found collaborative conclusions.

“Every one of those agreements was always on the brink of collapse because of adversarial animosity,” he said, “Right up until we all figured out that the only path to success was to work together.”

Looming over this conference will be the yet-undecided guidelines for managing the river after 2026, when the current rules expire. Those current rules, the 2007 Colorado River Interim Guidelines, were the first of their kind to address a future of water shortages in the basin.While the exact terms of the 2026 guidelines are still being hashed out, the gravity of the diminishing supply is forcing some existential questions about water use. As states prepare their own strategies for negotiating with the rest of the basin, they’re balancing internal needs.

“All of the different interests across Colorado, whether that’s tribal interests, whether that’s environmental interests, whether that’s agricultural interests, recreational interests, rural economy issues – things like that are all coming into play right now,” said Becky Mitchell, director of the Colorado Water Conservation Board.

Mitchell said her agency’s priority is to emphasize the effects of drought on states in the Upper Bbasin, arguing that they are more at the whims of drought and climate change. Low snowpack and other hydrological factors can leave rivers and streams dry, straining water managers’ ability to meet their required allocations.

Arizona and other Lower Basin states, meanwhile, depend on water released from reservoirs. The Upper Basin is required to deliver a certain amount of water to Lake Mead each year, functionally assuring a steadier supply for those who draw from it.

“We’re feeling it every day,” Mitchell said. “But really making sure that people understand what is happening and what has been happening for the last 20 years in the Upper Basin, that’s going to be one of our priorities.”

Mitchell agreed that collaboration will be forged out of necessity.

“We have no choice but to get there,” she said. “It may be an ugly road. It may be bumpy. There may be some issues along the way, but that is the only option at this point.”

In the Lower Basin, some states are discussing a plan to leave more water in Lake Mead in 2022 and 2023. The deal involves water management agencies from Nevada, Arizona and California, as well as the Department of the Interior, and would put 500,000 acre-feet of water in the reservoir each year. An acre-foot is the amount of water needed to fill 1 acre of land to a height of 1 foot, which provides enough water for one to two households for a year.

The so-called “500+” plan would see those users drawing less from the Colorado River’s supply and is seen as a contingency effort to stop Lake Mead from dropping further to critically low levels. In addition to supplying water, the reservoir also must be full enough to produce electricity at Hoover Dam.

The plan would involve states cutting back their water usage before it’s required by federal mandate, and it sets fundraising goals for money that would be used to pay farmers, tribes and water agencies to reduce their use.

Entsminger said he’s optimistic the 500+  plan will be signed in Las Vegas.

 “but it’s also a chance for the river community as a whole to come together, assess where we are at this point and figure out a plan for moving forward.”

“I do think there’s some substantive agreements that will come out of” the conference, he said, “but it’s also a chance for the river community as a whole to come together, assess where we are at this point and figure out a plan for moving forward.”

4. City Seeking Members For Environmental Services Advisory Committee– The City of Tucson is looking for three residents to serve on the Environmental Services Advisory Committee (ESAC). The committee advises the Mayor and Tucson City Council on all Environmental Services department programs and services, including rate structures, recycling issues, and environmental protection. Volunteers with experience in utility rate-making, business management, environmental engineering, neighborhood issues, and related fields are preferred.

Watershed Info 1128 EnviroInsight

City of Tucson employees are not eligible to serve on the ESAC. The uncompensated members are appointed by the mayor and each member of the Tucson City  Council. Additionally, the city manager nominates six members for final approval by the Mayor and Council. Council appointees serve terms concurrent with the council member, and those appointed by the city manager serve four-year terms. To be considered for a seat on the committee, submit a letter of interest and a resume to Robert.Rappaport@tucsonaz.govby Friday, Jan. 14, 2022, at 5 p.m.

5. Non-Indian Agricultural (NIA) Water.  .Say What? Within the CAP priority system, there are few terms more confusing than Non-Indian Agricultural (NIA) priority water. The confusion exists because NIA priority relates to the history of the water – not to the way it’s used today. NIA refers to water that was originally designated for agriculture use, excluding tribal agriculture.

CAP water began flowing in 1985, but in the early 1990s, as CAP’s annual payment for its share of construction costs came due, the irrigation districts were responsible for a large portion of CAP’s operating costs. Those operating costs, along with poor commodity prices and debt incurred for CAP delivery infrastructure, were a heavy financial burden for the districts. As a result, in many cases CAP water was more expensive than groundwater or other surface water supplies.

The challenges facing CAP irrigation districts were part of a decade of litigation and  negotiations related to CAP repayment. Ultimately, as part of the 2004 Arizona WaterSettlements Act, the irrigation districts relinquished their remaining long-term CAP entitlements in exchange for debt relief and access to a fixed volume of affordable but even lower priority CAP water.  Access to that water, known as the Agricultural Settlement Pool (Ag Pool), expires in 2030. But in fact, due to the impending Tier 1 Colorado River shortage, none of that water would have been available. As a result of many agreements associated with Arizona’s implementation of the Drought Contingency Plan, about a third of the supply to Ag Pool users has been restored for 2022. 

Watershed Info 1128 EnviroInsight


The CAP entitlements that the irrigation districts relinquished have retained their lower priority, but two thirds of this NIA priority water has now been reallocated to a mix of tribal and non-tribal water users.

So where are we today?

The most recent NIA reallocation was completed this year with 44,530 acre-feet of subcontracts issued to 14 entities, including private water companies, municipalities, industrial water users and the Central Arizona Groundwater Replenishment District. These were based upon a recommendation to the Secretary of the Interior from the Arizona Department of Water Resources, following an extensive public process. CAP is a party to these NIA subcontracts, and they were approved by the CAWCD Board in June 2021, with water deliveries to begin in 2022.

Copyright: EnviroInsight.org 2021             


Recent Posts