The tragedy of the anticommons – we’re good at saying “no”

Cleaning out some old files this morning, I ran across this great quote from Pat Mulroy some years back from a talk about the problems of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Via’s Maven’s Notebook: We are very, very good at saying no. We are very, very good at blocking. Anybody can stop anything. What we can’t …

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Water Wars – What are they Good For? Webinar, March 15

I’ll be joining Tim Quinn, former executive director of the Association of California Water Agencies; and Tracy Quinn, Director, California Urban Water Policy, Healthy People & Thriving Communities Program at the NRDC (and also a board of of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California) in a webinar to talk about collaboration and conflict around …

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The Colorado River Basin’s Tanya Trujillo named to Biden Interior transition team

I was delighted to see my friend Tanya Trujillo’s name on the incoming Biden Administration Department of the Interior transition team list released yesterday. Tanya’s a New Mexican, former chief counsel to the New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission, and current member of the commission. She served as a legislative aide to New Mexico Sen. Jeff …

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Tensions around a wastewater reclamation collaboration in Southern California

There’s some fascinating tension around a proposed wastewater reclamation collaboration in Southern California. The project, if it goes forward, would provide some 150 million gallons per day (~170,000 acre feet per year) of treated effluent. Water now being discharged into the ocean would instead be available for aquifer recharge within Southern California. There are a …

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San Diego’s puzzling pursuit of a big new pipeline to the Colorado River

I’m puzzling over the San Diego County Water Authority’s pursuit of a new Colorado River pipeline. I’ve been puzzling for a while, given a that it would be really expensive and that a really big pipe (aqueduct) already exists to carry the water to San Diego. My puzzlement was goosed by a report that surfaced …

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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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March 1985: when everything on the Colorado River changed

Brett Walton had a great bit of business in yesterday’s Circle of Blue story on 2019’s remarkable drop in Colorado River Lower Basin water use: The last time water consumption from the river was that low was in 1986, the year after an enormous canal in Arizona opened that allowed the state to lay claim …

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The risk of Southern California falling into “perfect drought”

Last year was, for Southern California water management, perfectly wet. By that I mean a good snowpack in the Sierra Nevada and the Colorado River Basin. I’m stealing a wonderful phrase here from a new paper by the University of Arizona’s Connie Woodhouse (the full paper’s behind a paywall): “A Long View of Southern California …

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