Rivers and plumbing

Filing some pictures this evening, I came across this, taken in the bed of the Rio Grande beneath the Hatch bridge in southern New Mexico on April 29, 2013:

Dead River Clams, Rio Grande, Hatch New Mexico,  April 29, 2013, by John Fleck

Dead River Clams, Rio Grande, Hatch New Mexico, April 29, 2013, by John Fleck

This is the sort of thing Jack Schmidt of the  Grand Canyon Monitoring and Research Center was talking about at a conference in Boulder last August when he said:

Talking about water, and talking about water as a commodity, is not the same as talking about a river.

 
Beginning in the 1950s, according to USGS data, they’ve been shutting the river down south of Elephant Butte Reservoir most winters. This conserves irrigation water, which is important to grow food and support the economy among those who have chosen to make their livings growing said food. Last year was the longest shutdown in history. They turned the river off around the end of August 2012 and didn’t turn it back on until late May.

This seems to be the sort of thing Schmidt was getting at.

3 Comments

  1. Easier said than done, as the act of setting aside requires an argument over economic/commodity water, since that’s where it comes from.

  2. Pingback: Another Week in the Ecological Crisis, January 19, 2014 – A Few Things Ill Considered

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