Or: “A contentious pipeline (and I don’t mean Keystone XL)”
Or: “Colorado vs. Mississippi tug o’ war over the Missouri”
The slices of the Colorado River pie are getting cut thinner and thinner. With growing populations in southwestern cities and increased needs for irrigation, doling out the dwindling supplies of the Colorado River has reached such a dried up state that government agents are suggesting piping water from the Missouri River 600 miles across Kansas to Denver. The federal Bureau of Reclamation (part of the Department of the Interior) will be releasing a report this week proposing a constellation of options for mediating growing concern over water supplies for the ~25 million people who rely on the Colorado River, reports the NYTimes.
“If your life’s work can be accomplished in your lifetime, you’re not thinking big enough.”
Photo from NPR.org. Their caption reads, “Dirty water from the oil wells flows through oil-caked pipes into a settling pit where trucks vacuum off the oil. A net covers the pit to keep out birds and other wildlife. Streams of this wastewater flow through the reservation and join natural creeks and rivers.”
From NPR: A bizarre exception to EPA regulations allows oil companies to dump their wastewater at the surface rather than reinjecting it into another well, which is the typical method of disposal. Wyoming ranchers argued in the 1970s that banning these oil companies from dumping their wastewater would harm livestock and wildlife that rely on this dirty water for survival (a claim that continues to this day). Most states have enacted and enforce toxic waste disposal laws more strict than the EPA; however the state does not have jurisdiction over the reservation and it is up to the EPA. They interviewed my acquaintance, Dr. Rob Jackson at Duke University, for expert opinion on the science of this issue.
Read or listen to this news story on NPR’s “All Things Considered” here.