Blog  /  October 2017  /  Q3 2017 Regional Roundup: Part 1/3

Blog Post Teaser

This blog series examines major trends and newsworthy events that occurred in the US water industry during the third quarter of 2017.  The first part of the series focuses on activity within the Southwest and West regions of the US.  Check back tomorrow for part two of the series, which will cover the New England, Mid-Atlantic, and South regions of the US.

 

SOUTHWEST

The Southwest region consists of Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas.

  • In the third quarter of 2017, the largest demand for planning, design, engineering, and consulting services in the Southwest region occurred in Texas, followed by Arizona.   Additionally, Texas represented the greatest demand for stormwater projects in the Southwest during the third quarter of 2017. 
  • In August 2017, Texas was hit by Hurricane Harvey, a Category 4 storm that released more than 50 inches of rain on parts of Houston and caused over $150 billion in damage.  Following the storm, GPS data gathered by the Nevada Geodetic Laboratory from stations around Houston revealed the entire area had been pushed down approximately two centimeters by the weight of the water that fell during Hurricane Harvey.
  • Hurricane Harvey also had a significant impact on the US oil and gas industry, temporarily shutting down around 22% of crude oil production (about 379,000 barrels per day) in the Gulf of Mexico and approximately 17% of US oil refining capacity (about three million barrels per day).
  • The results of a study performed by the federal Bureau of Reclamation proclaim that Lake Mead, the largest reservoir in the United States, will avoid a shortage declaration for 2018 as water flows have slightly improved in comparison to recent years.  The Arizona Department of Water Resources has recognized collective conservation efforts started in 2014 between Arizona, California, Nevada, and Mexico as a contributing factor to the difference in water levels at Lake Mead.
  • In September 2017, the US and Mexico finalized a water-sharing deal for the Colorado River that includes investing in conservation and environmental projects, and developing plans to handle water shortages due to drought and climate change.  As part of the agreement, which remains in effect through 2026, the US will spend $3.5 million in water conservation projects in Mexico, including upgrading irrigation equipment and lining irrigation ditches to reduce leaks.

 

WEST

The West region consists of Alaska, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington. 

  • The largest demand for planning, design, and consulting services across the nation during the third quarter of 2017 was seen in the West, of which California represented nearly two-thirds of the region’s total demand.  Opportunities within the state included the design of a community aquatic center, the development of a feasibility study for a water distribution system, and the provision of aerial photography services for the topographic mapping of a watershed.
  • In August 2017, the California Water Commission released a list of 12 projects that are in the running for a share of $2.7 billion in state bond funds provided by Proposition 1, a bond measure approved by California voters in 2014.  The proposed plans include three aimed at expanding existing reservoirs, three involving the construction of new reservoirs, a groundwater banking project, and several projects that integrate surface flow with groundwater storage.
  • Also in August 2017, the Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) announced plans to spend up to $7.5 million in Mexico over the next 10 years in exchange for additional water from the Colorado River.   The money is expected to fund various water-saving projects in Mexico, including lining canals, repairing pipes, and reducing runoff from farms.  Specifically, SNWA will receive 27.275 acre-feet of water for its initial $3.75 million contribution, with another 27.275 acre-feet of water being secured in exchange for up to $3.75 million more in funding if additional projects are identified after the first round in Mexico is complete.
  • Following the passage of Senate Bill 270 in the 2017 legislative session, Nevada residents are required to send proof of ownership for water rights that predate state statutes to the Nevada Division of Water Resources by 2027.  By determining how much water is committed to and being used, the state can more effectively match water usage with estimated water availability to manage its water resources.