An initiative of the Center for Environmental Journalism at the University of Colorado Boulder

Maroon Bells Snowpack

Melting away in a hot drought

The snowpack that 40 million people rely on for water was supposed to provide a bounty this year. Instead, much of it melted away fast and early — part of a long-term trend associated with climate change.

Praying for rain

The Zuni tribe's homeland is one of the most parched sections of the country. The tribe has already declared three drought emergencies in the last 15 years. Will it survive the next one?

Questions simmer about Lake Powell’s future as drought, climate change point to a drier...

Lake Powell faces demands from stakeholders with different water needs as runoff is forecast to decline due to warmer, drier conditions.

Thirsty future for American West, as “megadrought” grips some of the fastest-growing U.S. cities

By Alexandra Tempus, Fair Warning In 2002, Utah was reeling from four years of dry conditions that turned the...

Cloud seeding study validates ski industry staple

Cloud seeding disperses dust-sized silver iodide particles into clouds so that ice crystals can form on those particles and fall to the ground as snow.

As the Salton Sea shrinks, it leaves behind a toxic reminder of the cost...

Scientists fear that eventually the toxic residue of more than a century of agricultural runoff will be blown into the air — and into the lungs of residents.
The Colorado River delta in Baja California is a mosaic of old river channels, tidal salt flats, and runoff from agricultural fields to the north. PHOTO BY TED WOOD

Crisis on the Colorado Part V: Bringing New Life to a Stressed River

The Colorado River has been dammed, diverted, and slowed by reservoirs, strangling the life out of a once-thriving ecosystem. But in the U.S. and Mexico, efforts are underway to revive sections of the river and restore vital riparian habitat for native plants, fish, and wildlife.

Crisis on the Colorado Part IV: In Era of Drought, Phoenix Prepares for a...

Once criticized for being a profligate user of water, fast-growing Phoenix has taken some major steps — including banking water in underground reservoirs, slashing per-capita use, and recycling wastewater — in anticipation of the day when the flow from the Colorado River ends.
A canal diverts water from the Colorado River to farms in Palisade, Colorado. TED WOOD

Crisis on the Colorado Part III: Running Dry– New Strategies for Conserving Water

Communities along the Colorado River are facing a new era of drought and water shortages that is threatening their future. With an official water emergency declaration now possible, farmers, ranchers, and towns are searching for ways to use less water and survive.
After two decades of drought, Lake Mead, which is impounded by Hoover Dam, is just 40 percent full. A “bathtub ring” visible along the edges of the lake show how far its water levels have dropped. PHOTO BY TED WOOD. SUPPORT FOR AERIAL PHOTOGRAPHS PROVIDED BY LIGHTHAWK

Crisis on the Colorado Part II: On a Water-Starved River, Drought Is the New...

With the Southwest locked in a 19-year drought and climate change making the region increasingly drier, water managers and users along the Colorado River are facing a troubling question: Are we in a new, more arid era when there will never be enough water?