On the ecosystem benefits of irrigation systems

One of the conceptual riddles Bob Berrens and I are working through in the new book we’re pursuing on New Mexico’s Middle Rio Grande, and the work surrounding it, is the ecosystem goods and services across our valley floor provided by the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District’s web of irrigation ditches. Where once we had …

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Invest in Farm Water Conservation to Curtail Buy and Dry

A guest post by David Rosenberg. David E. Rosenberg Utah State University | david.rosenberg@usu.edu | @WaterModeler The term buy-and-dry plays to the fears of farm and ranch communities. Wealthy urban water providers buy up water rights, dry out farms and ranches, encourage people to retire to Hawaii or other locales, and export the purchased water …

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Many thoughtful comments on my musings on California groundwater regulation and agricultural land value

Many thoughtful comments on yesterday’s breakfast musing on the implications of rising California ag land prices, here and over on the twitter, provide yet another reminder that my readers are far smarter than I am about this stuff. The most important point, which quite a few people made, is that a single California number hides …

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“the market” doesn’t seem particularly worried about California’s groundwater law

New US Department of Agriculture report out this week shows the dollar value per acre of irrigated California cropland continuing to rise: Above is a quick plot of the data for six of the seven states included in the Colorado River Basin. THIS IS NOT COLORADO RIVER BASIN IRRIGATED ACREAGE. Large areas of many of …

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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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Some other stuff I’m up to – climate change impacts research

Natalie Rogers did a nice writeup for the University of New Mexico on some work I’m doing with a group of University of New Mexico colleagues on climate change impacts and adaptation in New Mexico. Working as part of a new affiliation between UNM researchers and the USGS-funded South Central Climate Adaptation Science Center, some …

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The hydrograph of the All-American Canal

With little water storage to speak of in the Imperial Valley, the flow of the All-American Canal west from Imperial Dam integrates, in close to real time, the collective decisions of a thousand farmers growing crops on half a million acres. A “hydrograph” is a commonly used tool for looking at the flow of water …

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On the U.S. part of the Rio Grande, the San Luis Valley is where most farming takes place

In water management, it’s normal to zero in on one’s local geography and not think about the larger system – especially when state lines carve up a watershed. Thus, faced with a terrible snowpack year on the Rio Grande, we’re having three largely separate conversations about agricultural water management on the U.S. part of the …

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Water policy implications of elk, raiding wheat fields, in Polvadera, New Mexico

I had one of those “I wish I was still a reporter” moments when Glen Duggins, at yesterday’s meeting of the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District board meeting, raised the issue of elk in Polvadera. Polvadera is an unincorporated community along the Rio Grande, between the also unincorporated communities of San Acacia and Lemitar, strung …

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