Some thoughts on the bathtub ring and Lake Mead’s historic drop below 1,075

I’ve had my head down the last ten days reading and writing about 1940s and ’50s-era Los Angeles water management, and I look up to see that Lake Mead last week dropped below elevation 1,075, a level freighted with meaning. But what meaning, exactly? Drew Beckwith at Western Resource Advocates, in Caitlin McGlade’s story, wins for …

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Drought adaptive capacity, Kings County CA edition

In your latest reminder that California agriculture has shown some remarkable capacity to adapt to that state’s crushing drought, Todd Fitchette in Western Farm Press reports that total agricultural farm gate receipts in Kings County, in California’s drought-devastated southern Central Valley, were up 9 percent last year: Kings County agricultural values advanced 9 percent from …

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Your 1952 Aquifer Queen of Central Water Basin

Los Angeles water, management, circa 1952: There are many reasons for the diminishing underground water supply. Foremost among them, probably, is the vastly increased demand created by an unprecedented population influx and the constant press of industrial expansion. But there are important contributory reasons. Prolonged dry spells of little or no rain leave water-bearing aquifers …

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Arizona’s Colorado River zeitgeist

In this morning’s Arizona Star, Tucson journalist Tony Davis asks, “Is California trying to take our water?” In journalism, there’s a joke known as “Betteridge’s Law“: “Any headline that ends in a question mark can be answered by the word no.” As Tony’s story strongly suggests, the notion making the rounds these days in some Arizona political …

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Running out water – again with the governance

This Alex Breitler story reminds how running out of water is almost invariably as much a problem of governance as much as it is of drought: MOUNTAIN HOUSE — Years before the first shovelful of earth was turned on this master-plan community near Tracy, developers and county officials knew that its sole source of water could …

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When the drought story is really a poverty story

Andrea Costillo in the weekend Fresno Bee: East Porterville’s poverty and education shortcomings stand out in a state analysis of communities with the highest health risks. The analysis from the California Environmental Protection Agency shows the town’s poverty level is among the highest 10% in the state. In education, the community ranks worse than 91% …

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Kenney on the West’s water problems

The University of Colorado’s Doug Kenney, who tends to be pessimistic about the Colorado River Basin’s water management problems, did find something optimistic to say in a Guardian op ed today: The situation isn’t hopeless. In Southern California, for example, the massive Imperial Irrigation District transfers water to drought-stricken communities in Los Angeles and San …

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One California policy response to rural water problems

California, in the depths of drought, is pushing for a modest policy initiative that could help deal with the problem of poor rural communities running short of water. In the depth of New Mexico’s 2013 drought, I got really interested in the communities that were, and more importantly were not, running out of water. What …

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