News Briefs: Pulse Flow Brings Life Back to Colorado River Delta

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Along the Colorado River Delta, years of drought mixed with high water-supply demands have morphed the once-lush ecosystem into bone-dry cracked earth. But life could be restored to the region through an historic binational agreement between Mexico and the United States. On March 25, the gates of the Morelos Dam on the Arizona-Mexico border were opened to create a pulse flow that could breathe life back into the ecosystem.

“The pulse flow is about mimicking the way the Colorado River flowed in the springtime, thanks to snowmelt from the Rocky Mountains, before all the dams were built,” says Sandra Postel, director of the Global Water Policy Project.

Dozens of scientists are now carefully monitoring flow rates, salinity levels, seed dispersal by native cottonwoods and more. Those involved say it’s a once-in-a-career opportunity.

“Scientists all around the world are watching,” says Karl Flessa, professor of geosciences at the University of Arizona in Tucson.

Monitoring will continue for months and years to understand how available water can be used not only to revitalize delta regions, but also to assist drought-stricken regions.

Source: National Geographic, National Geographic News

The Great Fluoride Debate
To add or not to add fluoride? That is the question facing the Albuquerque-Bernalillo County Water Authority after an April 9 public hearing revealed divided opinions from the public. Fluoride levels in the city’s drinking water average 0.5 ppm, and the authority will soon vote on a measure to increase levels to 0.7 ppm.

According to a utility spokesperson, the water authority stopped adding fluoride in 2011 based on a staff recommendation.

“The decision to stop adding fluoride was based on the fact that sufficient fluoride occurs naturally in our water supply to provide some dental protective benefits without exceeding the 0.7 ppm level,” the utility said in a written statement.

Since then, treated river water has been incorporated into the city’s drinking water, which diluted fluoride levels.

Source: Albuquerque Journal

International Program Pairs Water Districts
Representatives from Belize Water Services visited the Contra Costa Water District (Calif.) in March as part of an international program designed to improve water services. The on-site review is just the latest installment of a partnership that began in 2011 under a program through the United Nations.

“This partnership continues to be a valuable opportunity for CCWD to share our experiences as a water provider,” says CCWD Board President Joseph Campbell. “At the same time CCWD is benefitting from the information exchange about common challenges and ways to improve our services.”

During the March visit, Belize staff shadowed CCWD employees and focused on safety, system operations, information technology, communication and employee certification and development.

In exchange, CCWD has learned about ingenuity and preparedness for extreme events during visits to the Belize facility.

Source: Martinez Gazette



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