On the Colorado, the lowest water use in 25 years

Yes, a good snowpack helped us this year in the Colorado River. But the numbers are clear – reductions in water use made a far larger contribution to the good news on the river this year. This week’s official Bureau of Reclamation declaration that we won’t have a 2018 Colorado River shortage got a lot …

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What is it, exactly, about the Howitzers on Albuquerque’s Old Town Plaza that we should remember?

As is often my way, I wandered through Albuquerque’s Old Town Plaza at the tail end of my Sunday morning bike ride, stopping in the shade to enjoy the slow pace and people watching of the tourists mixed with Sunday church letting out. On the west side of the plaza are a couple of replica …

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Collaboration to deal with thorny dairy water and waste problems

From Sandra Postel and National Geographic’s Freshwater Initiative, the story of a collaboration among a dairy farmer, an irrigation tech company, and an environmental group to improve water efficiency in growing dairy forage crops and reduce the impact of dairy waste: A 2015 pilot of the system on a 40-acre (16.2-hectare) field of silage corn …

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That time we built a dam in Glen Canyon

Lauren Steely, late of the Bren School, did a neat analysis a few days ago to help visualize Oroville Dam inflow data. She’s using R’s joyplot tool, which is all the rage these days as a new day to line up and visualize variability in datasets that have repeating patterns. Like, for example, the annual hydrograph on …

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“springing condition subsequent”

Lawyers have the coolest language. Consider the doctrine of prior appropriation. “Beneficial use,” the drafters of the New Mexico constitution explained, “shall be the basis, the measure and the limit of the right to the use of water.” It felt like poetry the first time I heard the New Mexico state engineer roll it out …

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Institutions and trans-boundary water

River basins governed by agreements that include a combination of institutional mechanisms (such as enforcement, monitoring, conflict resolution, side-payment/issue-linkage, adaptability, and a joint basin commission) tend to exhibit more cooperation than river basins governed by agreements that don’t embody this combination of mechanisms. River basins governed by agreements that include an enforcement and adaptability mechanism …

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