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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California’s 2019 use of Colorado River water lowest since 1950

While Colorado River water management eyes were focused elsewhere this year – on the big snowpack up north, or the chaos success of the Drought Contingency Plan – California has quietly achieved a remarkable milestone. Its use of Colorado River water in 2019 will be 3.858 million acre feet. The last time it was below …

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Imperial Irrigation District’s line in the Salton Sea sand

The Imperial Irrigation District board will take up a resolution this afternoon drawing a sharp line. If action isn’t taken to deal with the Salton Sea, the historic early-2000s deal that attempted to untangle California’s Colorado River overallocation (the “Quantification Settlement Agreement” or QSA) “will have been breached”: The full text of the resolution and …

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The Salton Sea: “treat it as a real place that impacts real people’s lives”

Imperial Valley resident (and Imperial Irrigation District board member) Jim Hanks: The Salton Sea is a real place to me and I have always seen it as a lake, because that’s what it is. I also see it as hydrologically, geographically and morally connected to the Colorado River, and I appreciate the effort to place …

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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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You can’t address the Colorado River Basin’s problems without addressing the Salton Sea

RED HILL BAY – I couldn’t resist the “abandoned boat ramp” trope when I visited the Salton Sea this week. No amount of channel dredging is going to get you to the Sea at this point. And all that recently exposed shoreline between the old boat ramp where I was standing when I took the …

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Private utilities are better at conserving water than public ones

Manny Teodoro, a Texas A&M researcher who’s been doing important work on municipal utility governance and rate structures, has an update today on the 2018 California water conservation data. Point one, which is important given some breathless and totally premature journalism last year about California’s water conservation post-Big Drought, is that municipal water use remains …

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