The Colorado River-Sacramento Delta Connection

With an 85 percent allocation of northern California water from California’s State Water Project last year, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California was able to cut back on its use of Colorado River water, leaving more than 300,000 acre feet in Lake Mead. That water has provided a sufficient buffer than Mead will end …

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New constraints on Imperial’s ability to throttle back Colorado River water use

I’ve been puzzling over the impact of Imperial Irrigation District’s legal struggle over its “Equitable Distribution Plan”, a regulatory framework for governing how much water individual farmers can use. This story from Daniel Rothberg is a big help: As a practical matter, the repeal of the Equitable Distribution Plan lessened IID’s control over its plans to …

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Palo Verde Irrigation District withdraws lawsuit against Metropolitan Water District of Southern California

In a bit of Colorado River detente, the Palo Verde Irrigation District has filed a motion in Riverside County Superior Court to withdraw a lawsuit it had filed against the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California over the use of water on Met-owned land in the Palo Verde District:   View note The move does …

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“drought” – Philp on weather, water, and yesteryear’s language

Tom Philp had a great piece in Water Deeply last week about the language we use: Water policy becoming a prisoner of its own limited vocabulary, particularly when it comes to the weather. Here is a case that “drought” and “normal” belong in the dustbin of history, for their overuse can lead to the wrong conversation. …

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You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave

Last week I noted the disturbing analogy of 1976-77 for the Colorado River Basin, a year eerily similar in the early months of snowpack development to 2017-18. In addition to the major drops in reservoir levels, 1976-77 produced four of the eight best-selling albums of all time: Meat Loaf: Bat Out of Hell The Eagles: Greatest Hits …

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More on the literary heritage of Santa Ana winds, and fire

Laura Bliss turned to Joan Didion today to help make sense of Santa Anas, and fires, in our beloved Southern California: For all the praise of its “perfect weather,” L.A. is often seen as a city created in defiance of the laws of nature. Before flooded Houston acquired a similar reputation, critics argued that parched, …

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Some thoughts on disaster journalism, fire, Southern California, and resilience

This conversation triggered by Faith Kearns’ comments about memories of Santa Anas got me thinking about an old piece I wrote a while back and never published. I didn’t publish it because the editor I was pitching didn’t want it, but in retrospect I’m glad it never ran. It seemed ill-timed then, and on a …

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stormwater is not wasted water

When we talk about capturing “wasted” water for use – stormwater, sewage treatment plant effluent – it’s important to think about where that water is going now, before we start capturing it. Often, it’s into a river. So capturing it and putting it to use for some human purpose is depriving the river of that …

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When wastewater isn’t being “wasted”, Pasadena edition

Pasadena, California, wants to use treated effluent to water golf courses. This is a water policy no-brainer, right? Well…. “As part of preparations to commence deliveries of recycled water to Pasadena, the city of Glendale petitioned the State Water Resources Control Board to seek their approval for a reduction in the amount of treated wastewater …

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