Imperial, the Salton Sea, and the Colorado River Drought Contingency Plan

Tuesday was a remarkable day for Colorado River Basin governance. The Good With the kinda sorta now approved Drought Contingency Plan, we have the first formal commitment from the basin states to quantified water use cutbacks of more than a million acre feet per year as Lake Mead drops. With important caveats, this is enough …

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We seem to have a Colorado River water use cutback plan, without the river’s largest user

From Janet Wilson at the Desert Sun: The Colorado River Board of California voted 8-1-1 Monday to sign on to a multi-state drought contingency plan, which, somewhat ironically, might not be needed for two years because of an exceptionally wet winter. The process was fractious until the very end, with blistering rebukes from the river’s largest water user, and charges that …

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Water is For Fighting Over, out in paperback tomorrow

Publishing a book is a weird exercise in time shifting. Last fall, I was finishing Science be Dammed, the new Eric Kuhn-John Fleck book, while simultaneously working on a new afterward afterword to Water is for Fighting Over, out in paperback, well, tomorrow. My friends at Island Press helpfully reminded me this morning that it …

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Albuquerque has cut its per capita water use in half. We celebrated with cupcakes.

Update based on questions on Twitter and in the comments: This number represents all Albuquerque municipal water use – residential, commercial, parks, system losses, etc. Frequently per capita usage numbers quoted are for residential use only, so beware apples-oranges comparisons. Previously: There were cupcakes on a table by the door at the most recent meeting …

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For now, a Lake Mead “shortage” is off the table

The booming Rocky Mountain snowpack has eliminated the risk of a formal Lake Mead “shortage” declaration in 2020, and has substantially reduced the risk in 2021, according to the latest Bureau of Reclamation 24-month study. More importantly, in my view, is the reduction of a longer term risk of a legal battle over the Upper …

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What a good water year looks like

One of the many reasons the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California interests me so much is the way that it integrates much of the complexities of water management in the western United States. By drawing supplies from the Sierra Nevada as well as the Colorado River Basin, it links the two largest arid-west ag-urban …

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Southern California’s Metropolitan is prepared to go it alone to make a Colorado River Drought Contingency Plan Work

The Desert Sun’s Janet Wilson has an important update on progress toward a Colorado River water use reduction plan – the poorly named “Drought Contingency Plan”: With a Monday deadline looming, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California has offered to break an impasse on a seven-state Colorado River drought contingency package by contributing necessary …

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