the ditches are running

I took a detour from the bike trail this morning to see water in the Albuquerque Main Canal, which brings irrigation water to Albuquerque’s strangely urbanized rural valley. There are 350 miles of canals threaded through the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District’s Albuquerque Division, bringing water to something like 10,000 acres of land. It was …

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Linking Forests to Faucets

New work by UNM colleagues (Dadhi Adhikari and others) suggests municipal water users are willing to pay for work to improve the health of the watersheds that supply the city’s water – in this case Albuquerque: Econometric results show evidence of … significant public support for forest restoration – linking forests to faucets. (Dadhi is …

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To fix Oroville, they shut down a river. Then built a road.

This Bee aerial video of the work on the Feather River to try to cope with the problems at Oroville Dam is an amazing illustration of the scale of human intervention in rivers: Click through for the full video, no one screen grab can do it justice. They’ve completely shut down the spillway so they …

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A nice storage bump for Colorado River reservoirs, but they’re still pretty empty

Talking this week to members of the Colorado River water governance brain trust at the Family Farm Alliance‘s annual gathering in Las Vegas, there was a weird vibe about the big snowpack building in the Rockies. My quick take based on the February USBR modeling plus the latest forecast info from the CBRFC Lake Powell …

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Henry Mancini and the fountain at the Bellagio Hotel

Some years ago, on one of my first reporting trips to Las Vegas for my book, a friend who introduced me to the fountain in front of the Bellagio Hotel suggested a bit of economics that lingered. He pointed up to the big hotel and ventured a guess at the revenue flowing through it – …

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From Reno, a data point illustrating how epically wet the winter of 2016-17 has been in the West

This is “water year” precipitation in Reno, Nevada, from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30. The brown line is an average years’ accumulation. The pinky-purple line is 1982-83, the all time wettest year on record, going back to the 1890s. The green line is this year. Folks, 2017 has already eclipsed Reno’s wettest year on record …

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the real risks on the Colorado River – a lack of appropriate rules

We’re devoting a lot of attention in the Colorado River Basin to preventing “shortage”, which will happen if Lake Mead enters any given year below elevation 1,075. The discussions are around a new “Drought Contingency Plan” that would reduce water use in the basin, heading off the risk of 1,075 (now at a one in …

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Climate change is already sapping the Colorado River

A warming climate is already reducing the flow in the Colorado River, and the future risk is large, with a worst case of the river’s flow being cut in half by the end of the century, according to a new study from a pair of the region’s leading researchers. While precipitation declines since the turn …

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