News Digest - September 19, 2022

  • As the Colorado River is being ravaged by climate change and fought over by different states, many believe the Yakima Basin Integrated Plan implemented in Washington can serve as a model for the river basin. While the Yakima River is much smaller and has less agricultural production, those familiar with the Yakima plan say that the fundamental principle of shared sacrifice and cooperation among stakeholders can apply even to the Colorado River.
  • The alfalfa industry, one of the most significant water users in the Colorado River basin, is being propelled into longstanding debates over sustainable water use and the future of agriculture in the basin. With alfalfa being the most water-intensive and dominant crop in the region, adaptation to a water-scarce future will require a re-evaluation of our food system and incentives for farmers to switch to water-efficient crops.
  • Researchers are looking at solar still technology, which uses sunlight to turn seawater into freshwater, as a solution to the growing water scarcity crisis. A startup called Manhat is developing a floating desalination device that distills water without using electricity or creating brine, and a free-floating desalination unit is also being developed at MIT.
  • This week's TWDB drought report shows the sixth consecutive week of declining drought conditions across the state. We can expect the next few months to be warmer and drier than normal.

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