Enhancing the Clouds: A Solution to Arizona’s Water Challenges?
April 7, 2015 | By Becky Brisley | Cronkite News
Of all the potential solutions offered for Arizona’s water challenges, one has a decidedly science fiction feel: planes flying over the Rockies, seeding clouds with aerosolized silver iodide to stimulate rain and snow.
It’s not magic or raindancing but a very real process that dates back to the 1940s.
“It hasn’t been taken off the table as a potential tool as we work our way through drought now and in the future,” said Nancy Selover, Arizona’s state climatologist.
Cloud seeding has a history in the state, with organizations like the Central Arizona Project and the Salt River Project investing in research. While SRP hasn’t looked into it since the 1960s, the CAP has put about $1 million toward research happening in other states since 2007 in hopes of increasing the supply in the Colorado River system.
“Part of the reason we fund cloud seeding in the upper Colorado River Basin, specifically the states of Wyoming, Colorado and Utah, is because water that is generated in those states is primarily where most of the flow in the river is generated,” said Mohammed Mahmoud, planning analyst with the CAP. “So the reason why we fund those projects is to augment the water that could come out of the upper basin.”
Rhett Larson, a research fellow with the Kyl Center for Water Policy at Arizona State University’s Morrison Institute for Public Policy, said that although the process can help, there are other considerations, such as silver accumulating in river basins and figuring out who is entitled to the extra water.
County Helps Pay For Water Study
March 17, 2015 | Joanna Dodder Nellans | The Daily Courier (Prescott)
Yavapai County supervisors voted Monday to help cover the cost of analyzing where groundwater comes into the Middle Verde River.
The project also will continue monitoring sites in the Verde Valley so scientists know what’s changing in the groundwater and surface water systems.
While he’s glad the project is moving forward, Clarkdale Mayor Doug Von Gausig said it’s a perfect example of why the county needs its now-defunct Water Advisory Committee.
“I really miss the WAC,” he said over the phone last week. “I hope someday we can get it back together. It (water) is clearly the most important issue in Yavapai County.”
The U.S. Geological Survey is contributing $22,000 to the project, the Arizona Department of Water Resources is contributing $20,000, and Verde Valley local governments that used to be part of the Yavapai County Water Advisory Committee will contribute a combined $23,000 based on each of their human populations.
The USGS is conducting the groundwater inflow study work with new technology that measures helium in surface waters to pinpoint the sources of groundwater, and even figure out the age of the groundwater.