Watershed Info No 1258

Daniel Salzler                                                                                     No. 1258                                     EnviroInsight.org                             Five Items                            May 14, 2024     

     —————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 .  

           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 through knowledge. 

                      If you want to be removed from the distribution list,             

                       please let me know. Please note that all meetings listed are open.

Check our website at EnviroInsight.org

1. Goodyear Leads In Water Conservation, Saving 10 Million Gallons For The Valley Of The Sun.

Water is a perennially pressing issue in the arid climes of Goodyear, nestled in the Valley of the Sun, where the desert setting sharpens the focus on responsible water management and conservation efforts. Accordingly, the city has been taking strides as a vanguard of water stewardship, introducing a tapestry of programs and services that bolster its residents’ ability to save water. Goodyear can now tout a collective saving of 10 million gallons of water, which, as per the city’s figures, is enough to comfortably supply 30 families of four for a full year.

Among the strategies adopted or being considered to fortify the water supply in Goodyear, and indeed across much of Arizona, is desalinization—the removal of salts and minerals from water sources, a process that is operational in Goodyear, as well as the expansion of using recycled water, mentioned in a recent city update. These approaches are bolstered by technology that treats wastewater to meet strict regulatory standards safe for consumption. Another discussed measure is the modification of Bartlett Dam which could potentially heap up Bartlett Lake’s capacity, augmenting water sources in the Valley.

Goodyear’s proactive philosophy in evaluating its water supply not only satisfies the near-term demands but also aligns with the city’s long-term growth, bearing witness to a 100-year assured water supply designation by the Arizona Department of Water Resources for both existing and future development. This foresightfulness is a testament to the community’s tenacity in addressing a challenge that is as perennial as the desert’s thirst for a sustainable water plan.

Goodyear has published its June InFocus, an in-depth piece answering common questions about water in the community. Geared towards the layperson, it breaks down the city’s multi-faceted approach to water conservation and what it means for residents. People with an interest in how their tap water comes to be, and how their everyday habits can contribute to the larger schema of water conservation, would find it to be an insightful read. The InFocus can be accessed at the city’s website, providing residents and interested parties alike with valuable information on Goodyear’s water conservation strategies and initiatives. Source: Source: City of Goodyear

2.  How Flagstaff Is Using Nature-Based Solutions To Address Climate Change. I get so excited about the gardening club; I could just scream!” says a student at the Killip Elementary School.

When I hear this kind of enthusiasm from young students, I know we’re making a connection. And for me, it’s even more heartening that we’re talking about a gardening club in an elementary school. This speaks to the future impact of effective, city-led, nature-based solutions like we have implemented in Flagstaff.

Confronting the climate crisis is certainly no easy task, but standing at the frontlines is a different ball game altogether. This is precisely where cities find themselves: facing unique challenges with increasing urgency—whether it’s densely developed neighborhoods, areas where youth lack access to nature, or large numbers of vulnerable populations. Coupled with exacerbated rainfalls, the threat of wildfires, and extreme temperatures, it’s clear why local governments must lead the charge for nature-based solutions. Integrating natural environments and living systems into community planning goes beyond simply engaging our youth: it is crucial in forging a sustainable future. By adopting these strategies in Flagstaff, we not only address our immediate challenges but also lay the groundwork for long-term environmental resilience.

I had the honor of sharing Flagstaff’s resilience stories at a recent Congressional briefing hosted by the Environmental and Energy Study Institute, which concentrated on nature-based solutions  for medium- and small-sized cities.

Our panel engaged in discussions on practical case studies

of cities using funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to implement nature-based solutions, efforts to increase tree equity in urban areas, and the strategic utilization of the Clean Water State Revolving Fund. These conversations certainly served to enlighten, but more importantly, they centered on a crucial aspect: the critical role of federal support in expanding these initiatives and aligning them with broader federal policies and programs.

As I shared on the panel, Flagstaff’s Killip Elementary School found itself at a critical juncture due to severe flooding in 2021, uniquely positioning it as a focal point for both vulnerability and resilience, thus catalyzing the Flagstaff Green Schoolyards Initiative – a broader, district-wide green schoolyard plan and collaborative venture between the City of Flagstaff and Flagstaff Unified School District (FUSD). Flagstaff was selected as a cohort city for the Cities Connecting Children to Nature (CCCN) Green Schoolyards Initiative, a partnership between the Children and Nature Network and the National League of Cities, supported by The JPB Foundation, which aims to increase equitable access to nature for all children and foster systems-wide change by harnessing city and district leadership alongside interagency collaborations.

Despite the displacement of students that school year, we forged ahead with plans for infrastructure—not only stronger but greener. The Green Schoolyards Flagstaff coalition, formed after receiving two years of technical assistance from the Children & Nature Network, spearheaded the transformation of Killip Elementary School.

Green schoolyards provide substantial benefits, including economic value. A recent analysis indicates that for every dollar invested in green schoolyard conversions, communities can see returns of 60 cents directly from environmental sustainability and local property tax revenue increases. Source: How Green Schoolyards Create Economic Value (PDF)

Comprising of representatives from the city’s Sustainability Office, the FUSD, local nonprofits such as Terra BIRDS, the University of Arizona Extension program, and local community leaders, this coalition aided in turning Killip’s schoolyard into a stormwater detention basin for the management of millions of gallons of stormwater. On top of that, we’ve established a Youth Therapeutic Horticulture Wellness Program, Pollinator Garden, and composting systems for school food scraps. These projects help students learn to care for the environment and each other in settings beyond the traditional classroom.

Although the Green Schoolyards program started before the adoption of our Carbon Neutrality Plan (CNP), it aligns well with the CNP’s emphasis on sustainable food systems and green spaces. We’re working diligently to integrate these projects more fully into future updates of the CNP.  Source: NCL 100

3.  “It’s Not An Ideal World”: States Talk Colorado River Future, Hang-Ups In Negotiations At Colorado University Conference

Basin states shared updates on high-stakes Colorado River negotiations, which resumed after lapsing earlier this year

Colorado River talks are back in gear after stalling earlier this year, but little progress has been made on key sticking points, like how water cuts will be made and the role of Upper Basin reservoirs, state officials said Thursday.

More than 200 water watchers packed a conference room at the University of Colorado Law School in Boulder to hear updates from the officials, who represent the seven basin states deliberating over how the river will be managed after 2026. It was the negotiators’ first public meeting since basin states failed to reach a consensus in March and instead released two competing visions for the river’s future.

“In an ideal world we would have come together and gotten to a consensus immediately … but it’s not an ideal world, and it’s a really difficult problem,” said Estevan López, New Mexico’s Colorado River negotiator. “I think what you have from us is a commitment to keep working on it.”

Basin officials are negotiating Colorado River management in order to create new interstate water sharing rules that will replace the current agreements, created in 2007. The overburdened river system provides water to seven Western states, two Mexican states and 30 Native American tribes.

The Role Of Upper Basin Reservoirs.

In March, the Lower Basin states of Arizona, California and Nevada released a proposal that included several reservoirs in the Upper Basin, consisting of Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming. The Lower Basin states said including Upper Basin reservoirs would offer a better way to gauge the river basin’s total storage. One of those reservoirs is Blue Mesa, the largest in Colorado. 

“If you want plenty of water in Blue Mesa on Labor Day, then the seven-reservoir solution is better than the two-reservoir solution,” said John Entsminger, Nevada’s negotiator and manager of the Southern Nevada Water Authority.

The idea doesn’t sit well with Upper Basin officials, who say the reservoirs were built for use in their basin, not to shore up Lower Basin supplies. Officials said there’s more work to be done on this facet of the river’s management but offered no details on how they might reach a compromise.   “We’re open to all of the ugly conversations that need to be had,” said Becky Mitchell, Colorado’s top river negotiator. “Sometimes it’s not enjoyable to have those in a room like this with folks watching, but we’re open to having conversations.”

Calls For Water Cuts

The Lower Basin proposal also called on the four Upper Basin states to cut their use by 1.5 million acre-feet or more when the combined storage in Lake Mead, Lake Powell and five other reservoirs fall below 38% of capacity. 

The Upper Basin states have taken a hard stance against mandatory reductions. They say Upper Basin farmers, ranchers and other water users already face short supplies that impact livelihoods and communities — while the Lower Basin can depend on more predictable supplies out of lakes Mead and Powell, the largest reservoirs in the basin. 

It’s to be determined whether the annual cuts in the Upper Basin caused by Mother Nature would be counted toward the 1.5 million in cuts outlined in the Lower Basin proposal, Mitchell said. 

The Upper Basin’s stance has been a point of contention in the Lower Basin, whose proposal calls for cutbacks across all seven states when reservoir storage falls to critically low levels.

“There’s flexibility in the Lower Basin as to how and when the Upper Basin will contribute,” Entsminger said. “We just don’t want that answer to be zero, never.”

The Lower Basin has made a significant commitment to reduce its use by 1.5 million acre-feet after storage in seven basin reservoirs, including Mead and Powell, falls below 70% of capacity. That strategy would help correct the imbalance between supply and demand in the Lower Basin, the negotiators said. Arizona, California and Nevada would be using less than their legal entitlement to Colorado River water. 

“This idea that the Upper Basin is being asked to sacrifice so that the Lower Basin can use more than our compact entitlements is belied by the math that is in the Lower Basin proposal,” Entsminger said.

What’s Next For Negotiations? 

If the seven states can reach a basinwide consensus in coming months, their proposal could be included in a federal analysis that is scheduled to produce draft alternatives for basin management in December. 

The draft will include management alternatives identified by the Bureau of Reclamation, which could prompt further negotiations among states. The federal agency manages reservoirs across the West as well as water user contracts in the Lower Basin.

A presidential election in November could throw a wrench in the federal environmental impact statement, or EIS, process. 

“You also don’t have any real idea what’s going to be done with that EIS in the next administration, whether it’s Republican or Democrat,” Entsminger said.

The state negotiators also retained Thursday their rights to seek out the nuclear option — going to the U.S. Supreme Court — if the options on the table are unacceptable. That’s a risk because it puts decision making in the hands of judges who have varying degrees of familiarity with Western water management.

“None of us wants to go there,” López said. “But that is the lever that we have to make sure everyone understands what the risk is and stays away from those really risky decisions. Soure: The Colorado Sun, June 7, 2024

4.  Gasoline Prices Are The Bane Of Everyone’s Existence, But U.S. Automakers Tell Us They Are Doing The Best They Can With Miles Per Gallon.

I recently read an article about a vehicle made by Chinese Auto Maker, BYD.  The article indicated the vehicle was a gasoline/electric hybrid.  

The article told of this vehicle that when on a full tank and a full electric charge, could run
1,305 miles (NY City to Miami, FL).  The purchase cost of this car in China is $13,775 (in U.S. dollars).

Being the owner of a Ford C-Max hybrid,  a road trip with a full tank and full electric charge will give me 48 to 58 miles per gallon.  So, in my head, when I read about this BYD vehicle, I thought the vehicle must be a two-seater, perhaps with just three wheels to get that type of milage.

If you were able to purchase one of these vehicles currently for $13,775, and drove it for 10 years, the total cost of ownership would be zero.

 So, U.S. Automakers,, time to buck up and make an affordable good looking high milage hybrid vehicle like the BYD shown above.

 Source: Wall Street Journal

5. Celebrating Father’s Day.  On July 5, 1908, a West Virginia church sponsored the nation’s first event explicitly in honor of fathers, a Sunday sermon in memory of the 362 men who had died in the previous December’s explosions at the Fairmont Coal Company mines in Monongah, but it was a one-time commemoration and not an annual holiday.

The next year, a Spokane, Washington, woman named Sonora Smart Dodd, one of six children raised by a widower, tried to establish an official equivalent to Mother’s Day for male parents. She went to local churches, the YMCA, shopkeepers and government officials to drum up support for her idea, and she was successful: Washington State celebrated the nation’s first statewide Father’s Day on June 19, 1910.

Slowly, the holiday spread. In 1916, President Wilson honored the day by using telegraph signals to unfurl a flag in Spokane when he pressed a button in Washington, D.C. In 1924, President Calvin Coolidge urged state governments to observe Father’s Day.

Today, the day honoring fathers is celebrated in the United States on the third Sunday of June: Father’s Day 2024 occurs on June 16. Many men, however, continued to disdain the day. As one historian writes, they “scoffed at the holiday’s sentimental attempts to domesticate manliness with flowers and gift-giving, or they derided the proliferation of such holidays as a commercial gimmick to sell more products–often paid for by the father himself.”

During the 1920s and 1930s, a movement arose to scrap Mother’s Day and Father’s Day altogether in favor of a single holiday, Parents’ Day. Every year on Mother’s Day, pro-Parents’ Day groups rallied in New York City’s Central Park–a public reminder, said Parents’ Day activist and radio performer Robert Spere, “that both parents should be loved and respected together.”

Paradoxically, however, the Great Depression derailed this effort to combine and de-commercialize the holidays. Struggling retailers and advertisers redoubled their efforts to make Father’s Day a “second Christmas” for men, promoting goods such as neckties, hats, socks, pipes and tobacco, golf clubs and other sporting goods, and greeting cards. 

When World War II began, advertisers began to argue

that celebrating Father’s Day was a way to honor American troops and support the war effort. By the end of the war, Father’s Day may not have been a federal holiday, but it was a national institution.

In 1972, in the middle of a hard-fought presidential re-election campaign, Richard Nixon signed a proclamation making Father’s Day a federal holiday at last. Today, economists estimate that Americans spend more than $1 billion each year on Father’s Day gifts.Source: https://www.history.com/topics/holidays/fathers-day#origins-of-father-s-day

Copyright: EnviroInsight 2024


Recent Posts