News

Earth Notes: Quieter Pavement

21 hours ago
ADOT

Excessive road noise is a scourge of modern life. Barrier walls along busy highways don’t always reduce the ruckus because sound waves can jump the walls—especially on windy days.


Google Images

Seven U.S. states in the Southwest that depend on the overtaxed Colorado River have reached tentative agreements on how to manage the waterway amid an unprecedented drought, officials said Tuesday.

 

The announcement was a long-awaited step toward preserving the river, which supports 40 million people and 6,300 square miles (16,300 square kilometers) of farmland in the U.S. and Mexico.

"We have, after many years of discussion and negotiation, a real milestone," said James Eklund, a water lawyer who represents Colorado in the interstate negotiations on the river.

A nearly two-decade-long drought has drained the river's two largest reservoirs, Lake Mead and Lake Powell, to alarmingly low levels.

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, which manages major reservoirs across the West, says the chances of a shortfall in Lake Mead are 57 percent by 2020.

The reservoir has never fallen low enough to trigger a shortage before. If it happens, mandatory cutbacks would hit Arizona, Nevada and Mexico first.

The drought contingency plans announced Tuesday are not designed to prevent a shortage in the river system, but to manage and minimize the effects.

The two major components of the plans cover the Upper Basin, where most of the water originates as Rocky Mountain snowfall, and the Lower Basin, which consumes more of the water because it has more people and more farms.

Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming are in the Upper Basin. Arizona, California and Nevada are in the Lower Basin.

The Lower Basin plan is detailed and specific, but the Upper Basin plan outlines what steps the states would take if things get worse, said Karen Kwon, Colorado's assistant attorney general.

It will likely be next year before all seven states and the U.S. government approve the plans, Kwon said. Mexico agreed last year to participate in drought planning.

Reaching the agreements was a complex and delicate task because the river is not controlled by a single agency. Instead, it is governed by interstate compacts, international treaties and court rulings, known collectively as the law of the river.

azcentral

An Arizona shelter that houses migrant children has suspended operations amid allegations of physical abuse. 

COCONINO COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE

Coconino County Sheriff's officials say they're investigating the discovery of human remains just south of Cameron.

Mark Henle/Arizona Republic

Today marks three years since a shooting on Northern Arizona University’s campus left three students injured and one dead. In the days that followed, NAU psychologist Heidi Wayment surveyed students to learn how they responded—with grief, depression, or anxiety—and also what helped them heal. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny spoke with Wayment about her recently published findings.


Pages