Photo Credit: Rio de la Vista

We’re in driest 22-year period
going back 1,200 years

Cleave Simpson, general manager for the Rio Grande Water Conservation District and Colorado state senator, is consistent in saying the San Luis Valley has been in a 20-year drought and that it’s taken a severe toll on the Upper Rio Grande Basin.

On Monday, a study published in the journal Nature Climate Change reported on just how severe the drought has been. From 2000 to present day we are experiencing the driest 22-year stretch going back 1,200 years. For the study, scientists examined major droughts in southwestern North America back to the year 800.

“The results are really concerning, because it’s showing that the drought conditions we are facing now are substantially worse because of climate change,” said Park Williams, a climate scientist at UCLA and the study’s lead author told the Los Angeles Times. “But that also there is quite a bit of room for drought conditions to get worse.”

State of Rio Grande Basin
symposium agenda released

With the theme of “In Scarcity, Opportunity for Community,” the Salazar Rio Grande del Norte Center at Adams State University is sharing the full agenda for the 2022 Rio Grande State of the Basin Symposium. Inspired by these words from the late Justice Greg Hobbs, the Symposium will address the causes of water scarcity here in the San Luis Valley, and the ways that our community is coming together to address these issues. The public is invited to attend this free virtual event, from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 26. Registration is available online HERE

Symposium agenda overview: “We are very pleased to have Dr. Maria E. Montoya of NYU provide her global perspective in her keynote address on ‘A Look at Water Scarcity Globally: From the American West to China.’ And we’re bringing back longtime Adams State professor and newly appointed state director for the USDA’s Colorado Office of Rural Affairs, Armando Valdez as our master of ceremonies,” said Rio de la Vista, director of the Salazar Rio Grande del Norte Center. “As a multigenerational farmer/rancher from the Capulin area, a water leader, educator and now statewide leader, Armando brings his valuable perspective to the whole event.”

The morning will begin with a report on the current “State of the Basin,” including the latest data on snowpack measurements and flow forecasts by Craig Cotten, division engineer with the Colorado Division of Water Resources. He will also provide information about the state of groundwater and related challenges. The Symposium agenda will address three key causes of water scarcity and the community’s response to them: the state of the Valley’s aquifers and subdistricts, the current threat of water exportation, and the current and future effects of climate change.

Alamosa Education Association
conducts survey on 4-day school week

The Alamosa Education Association sent out a survey Monday to parents of Alamosa students asking for input on a 4-day school week. Alamosa is the only school district in the San Luis Valley that is not on a 4-day school week.

The survey is through Alamosa Education Association and not the school district. If there is interest and the school district wanted to examine the issue, Diana Jones, superintendent for the Alamosa School District, said she didn’t think there was time for Alamosa to push through the change of a 4-day school week for the 2022-23 school year.

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