New Mexico’s Rio Grande is dwindling

The Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority announced today that it will temporarily stop diverting water from the Rio Grande for our drinking water, shifting entirely to groundwater to meet municipal supplies through the summer. In itself, it’s no emergency for city water supplies – the groundwater is the reserve for use in dry years, …

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Seeing Like a State: the corner of Ortega Road and Guadalupe Trail

Some years ago, when I first began riding bikes in Albuquerque, my office chum Jimmie took me riding south through Albuquerque’s Rio Grande valley floor along a street called Guadalupe Trail. It’s not a street I would have found by myself – following the contours of one of the early acequias, the irrigation ditches that …

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Why I hate “Drought Contingency Plan” (the name, not the plan)

“We really need to call [what we’re experiencing] aridification — the drying out of the Colorado River Basin because of climate change, we can’t just call it ‘drought’ anymore,” Fleck said. “It appears to be this permanent phenomenon that’s lowering the lake levels. You should not expect it to return to high lake levels over …

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Tradeoffs: Colorado River water, flowing down the Rio Grande

Faced with the challenge of teaching some or all of our coursework this fall on line, my University of New Mexico Water Resources Program colleagues and I have been having a think about what we’re trying to accomplish. A lot of the thinking revolves around translating our educational goals from face-to-face classroom discussion to the …

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March 1985: when everything on the Colorado River changed

Brett Walton had a great bit of business in yesterday’s Circle of Blue story on 2019’s remarkable drop in Colorado River Lower Basin water use: The last time water consumption from the river was that low was in 1986, the year after an enormous canal in Arizona opened that allowed the state to lay claim …

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Coping with Megadrought in the Colorado River Basin

My NIDIS webinar from earlier this week is posted. Key bits: This year’s “sneaky drought” is a problem. The longer term “megadrought” (climate change-driven aridification) we seem to be in is an even bigger problem. We’ve done some great work in the Colorado River Basin reducing our use of water and building the institutional widgets …

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Google Maps said there’s a uranium mine out here. Also, a Wendy’s.

In the Time of Pandemic, the ability to refill my water bottles has become an unexpected bike riding constraint. Worst case, if I couldn’t find a drinking fountain, I used to pop into a Kwik-E-Mart and buy a bottle. So, yeah, pandemic, amiright? I hate those water pack things, and the discomfort of throwing extra …

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May 27 webinar: Coping With Megadrought in the Colorado River Basin, featuring me

I’ll be I’ll be yammering about the  Colorado River basin, sneaky droughts, and megadroughts with the folks at NIDIS (the National Integrated Drought Information System): As the Colorado River Basin experiences 2020’s “sneaky drought” amid a long term pattern that looks increasingly like one of the region’s millennial “megadroughts” that last decades, water managers are …

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Should we replace the Colorado’s “Law of the River”? Thoughts from Kathy Jacobs….

Had occasion to revisit this written several years ago by the University of Arizona’s Kathy Jacobs, it seems very much on point as we pursue the next set of Colorado River negotiations: There has been an unending chorus of people who are convinced that the “Law of the River”—the numerous contracts, laws, court decisions, and …

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