surface water

Biden administration ditches Trump water rule

The Biden administration said on Thursday it would re-establish the "waters of the United States" rule that was in place before 2015, a step that would repeal a narrow regulation written during the Trump era. The National Wildlife Federation said that "many streams and wetlands nationwide will regain undisputed protections."

Biden administration will replace Trump clean water rule

Shortly after telling senators that he wanted a "long-term, durable solution," EPA administrator Michael Regan said on Wednesday that the Biden administration would write a new definition of the upstream reach of clean water laws. The process would include repeal of the 2020 Trump-era rule that replaced 2015 Obama water regulations the farm sector decried as federal overreach.

White House creates drought relief working group

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack were named Wednesday to be co-chairs of a Biden administration working group charged with addressing worsening drought conditions in the western half of the nation.

California snowpack ‘far below average’ as wet season winds down

With one month left in what are California’s three wettest months of the year, the snowpack in the Sierra Nevada is at 27 percent of average for the start of February, said the state Department of Water Resources.

EPA delays Obama’s WOTUS rule until 2020 while it writes its own version

President Trump set out to erase the Obama-era Waters of the United States rule in his first weeks in office. Now the EPA has finalized an action that should keep the so-called WOTUS rule from ever taking effect.

Snow drought in western U.S. raises concerns about water supply

Snowpack in parts of the Rocky Mountains is at record lows because of warmer than usual weather, “raising concerns about water supplies and economic damage,” says Inside Climate News.

Michigan calls for voluntary action on farm runoff. Will it be enough?

State officials in Michigan drafted a plan that relies on voluntary action by farmers to reduce phosphorus runoff from fields that eventually flows into Lake Erie, where nutrient pollution feeds algal blooms in the western end of the lake, reports MLive Media Group.

Studies offer gloomy prospects for western water supplies

Three new studies show that the West is running low on water, and that much of that decline is a result of climate change, says High Country News.

Iowa debate: Whose yardstick to measure farm runoff?

With hundreds of millions of dollars at stake in carrying out Iowa's Nutrient Reduction Strategy, which calls for a 45 percent cut in nitrogen and phosphorus levels in waterways, "a new and controversial debate is looming," says the Des Moines Register. Environmentalists and scientists want to rely on water-quality monitoring to determine progress while farm groups say the best way is to tally conservation practices put in place on the land.

Groundwater feeds more than half of river flow in the West

More than half the flow of rivers in the upper Colorado Basin is derived from groundwater, according to a study by the U.S. Geological Society. The study's authors hope it will compel state water managers to ask important questions, since rivers are a key source of irrigation and drinking water across the west. For instance, should a farmer’s use of a nearby river be limited if he or she is also pumping large amounts of groundwater?