How Parker Dam might have been the Colorado River’s first

If you want to dam rivers, as we were inclined across much of the 20th century, the location of the current Parker Dam on the Lower Colorado River makes sense – a narrow gap just downstream from the confluence of the Colorado and Bill Williams rivers on the Arizona-California border. I paid a visit last …

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Central Arizona ag’s decline continues, but Pinal County is up

In the wake of Arizona’s difficulties in coming to terms with the future of central Arizona agriculture as it sorted out its approach to reducing Colorado River water use under the Drought Contingency Plan, the latest Census of Agriculture data is fascinating. The decline continues, but only just barely. The data within this data, broken …

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How Arizona abandoned its plan to reduce its Colorado River water use

I deeply misunderstood central Arizona’s readiness to respond to declining Colorado River supplies. Because I thought Arizona had a plan. In fact, Arizona did have a plan, a carefully crafted priority system that provided some users with deeply subsidized water in the short run, with the understanding that they would be the first to have …

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The path to Colorado River collaboration is narrow, but we remain on it

Amid the Sturm und Drang of Arizona’s struggle to find a path to reduce its Colorado River water use in the face of a federal ultimatum, I lost sight of an important point. With last week’s legislative approval, Arizona has now agreed to a plan that could eventually reduce the Central Arizona Project’s flow of …

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What exactly is this federal Colorado River “deadline”?

There is a widespread misunderstanding about today’s Colorado River “Drought Contingency Plan” deadline. No, the federal government will not step in at midnight tonight and take over management of the Colorado River if the states of the Colorado River Basin have not approved the long-delayed, painfully negotiated DCP. That is not what Reclamation Commissioner Brenda …

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Another Arizona Colorado River Drought Contingency Plan sticking point?

A letter this afternoon from Arizona Department of Water Resources Director Tom Buschatzke to Central Arizona Project board members, also circulated to Arizona’s Drought Contingency Plan Steering Committee, suggests another hangup in Arizona’s efforts to agree on a plan to reduce its Colorado River water use. It involves the distinction between using water from on-river …

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I think (?) there’s an Arizona Colorado River deal? Episode II

I’m moderating a panel on the Lower Basin Drought Contingency Plan at this year’s meeting of the Colorado River Water Users Association in Las Vegas (NV) in a couple of weeks. What shall we talk about? Arizona’s water agencies, cities, farmers and tribes haven’t quite sealed a Colorado River deal. But they’re getting closer. The …

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I think (?) there’s an Arizona Colorado River deal?

Update: via Ian James from the Arizona Republic, here are the slides for today’s meeting. Previously: With the announcement of a meeting this afternoon of Arizona’s Lower Basin Drought Contingency Plan steering committee, it appears we have the general shape of an agreement to settle the thorny issue of how to reduce Arizona’s use of …

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Bruce Babbitt: Pinal County Farmers and CAP Risk Setting Off a Colorado River Water War

Wow. Bruce Babbitt, former Arizona governor and Secretary of the Interior, has a striking op-ed in tomorrow’s Arizona Republic placing the blame for Arizona’s current Colorado River failures squarely on Pinal County farmers and the leadership of the Central Arizona Project. Ultimately the responsibility for approving Arizona’s part of the critical Colorado River Drought Contingency …

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Should Arizona not get its act together, hints of a six-state Colorado River Drought Contingency Plan

Elizabeth Whitman had an incredibly important bit of business in her Phoenix New Times setup piece for today’s Central Arizona Water Conservation District meeting on the Colorado River DCP: “Negotiations in Arizona are at a critical stage,” said Patricia Aaron, a spokesperson for the Bureau of Reclamation. The bureau was “cautiously optimistic,” she added, but, …

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