A battle is brewing over valuable water rights that could blow up Arizona's Drought Contingency Plan. Legislative House Speaker Rusty Bowers has proposed overturning a state law requiring farmers upstream from the Gila River to use their water share every five years or lose it.
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State lawmakers had Monday off, but are back at the Capitol today. And, as it has every day of this short session so far, water continues to dominate the discussion. The state is facing a Jan. 31 deadline to sign off on a Drought Contingency Plan, or the federal government has said it would move to implement restrictions.
On Friday, electric car maker Tesla announced massive layoffs across all of its operations. The reason: sales have under-performed as consumers complain about the cost of their electric cars.
Officials who worked on Arizona’s drought plan are asking powerful stakeholders to push the state Legislature to pass it.
Elemental: Covering Sustainability

A multimedia collaboration between public radio and public television stations in Colorado, Arizona and California.

GREELEY, Colo. – After one of the hottest and driest years on record, the Colorado River and its tributaries across the Southwest are likely headed for another year of low water. That’s according to an analysis by the Western Water Assessment at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Jeff Lukas, the researcher who authored the briefing, ...

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PHOENIX — On the first day of the legislative session, water led Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey’s State of the State address. More specifically, he wants a drought plan finished — one that keeps the Colorado River system at healthy levels. Drought and over-allocation means Lake Mead is at risk of dropping really low. Taken to ...

PHOENIX – The partial federal government shutdown is affecting Arizona’s painstaking work on an internal drought plan, although not enough to delay a federal deadline set for the end of this month. The Bureau of Reclamation remains open, Phoenix-area manager Leslie Meyers said, noting that the bureau’s funding was appropriated in September. The legal counsel ...

COTTONWOOD – Fighting nature with nature seems like a good idea – unless nature doesn’t care about geography. Today, the effects of a federal decision made 20 years ago to use Asian beetles to slow the spread of an invasive shrub across the West are reducing nesting habitat for an endangered songbird – the southwestern ...

WICKENBURG – Jerry Tyra started working underground in 1960, drilling ore samples to help mine companies figure out whether to develop a mine site. Since 2007, the 75-year-old has been doing a different kind of exploration: scouring the state for the thousands of abandoned mines some of his former employers may have left scattered throughout ...

PHOENIX – Sirena Rana Dufault has hiked Mount Lemmon, outside Tucson, more times than she can say. But she still has a sense of wonder, noticing little things, including a dust-colored lizard skittering past. “Oh my gosh!” she said, scooping up the tiny creature. “Look at him! He’s adorable! … He’s like a dinosaur!” Dufault, ...

PHOENIX – At 22, Carly Verbeke has been to Europe twice. But until just now, she had never been on a hike. Now, for the first time, her wheelchair is rolling past tall pines on a flat, paved trail, the smell of damp earth heavy in the air. Her chair isn’t even rated to go ...

PHOENIX – A few years ago, when Caitlin Stewart announced she was going to hike all 2,200 miles of the Appalachian Trail, people had questions. “Probably four to 10 people said, ‘Are you going to bring a machete?’” she recalled. That would be a no. She wasn’t going to take a gun, either. But the ...

PHOENIX – Environmentally speaking, it’s best to reuse your holiday lights for as long as possible, or to donate them. But for the first time, Phoenix is accepting strings of lights for recycling. Residents can drop off lights at one of two transfer stations, starting the day after Christmas. “This is the first year that ...

FLAGSTAFF – The Grand Canyon, carved by water over millions of years, is a geologic wonder that has inspired poets to dream and scientists to ponder. Most of us are lucky to visit once or twice in a lifetime. But for several Native American tribes, the Grand Canyon is their home. “Most Americans think Native ...