Is the Colorado River community nearing a water-saving deal?

A flurry of public discussion over the last week about a possible water conservation deal on the Lower Colorado River illustrates the central dilemma in the river basin’s water use problems. tl;dr This is a very important agreement. Modeling suggests that, if implemented, it could slow the steep decline in Lake Mead. The water conservation …

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Delta smelt, culture wars icon

Fiorina told delegates at the state Republican Party convention here that protections for the threatened Delta smelt were a product of the “tyranny of the left, the tyranny of environmentalists.” I fear discussions of the Delta smelt and environmental costs and benefits of moving California’s water from north to south have passed the point of …

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A new favorite in the “cracked mud journalism” genre

As a connoisseur of cracked mud and journalism of the drought apocalypse, I tip my hat to the folks at Sports Illustrated for this: “The Pacifics want to do their part to call attention to California’s drought conditions and so we won’t wash our uniforms for games after we draw 500 fans,” vice president of …

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San Diego’s great water use decoupling

The San Diego County Water Authority’s use peaked in 2002 at 732k acre feet. Last year it was down to 522kaf, a 29 percent drop even as population has risen by 12 percent. This is one of many examples of “decoupling” between growth and water use. As we adapt to conditions of increasing water scarcity …

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More cuts, sooner, under Lower Colorado deal taking shape

Looks like significant progress toward an Arizona-California deal to slow Lake Mead’s decline, according to a story from the Arizona Daily Star’s Tony Davis: Arizona, California and Nevada negotiators are moving toward a major agreement triggering cuts in Colorado River water deliveries to Southern and Central Arizona to avert much more severe cuts in the …

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the water conservation ratchet

While there is much water policy Sturm und Drang in California over the extent to which water conservation mandates should or should not be extended now that weather has provide some drought relief, the reality is that the rules may not matter: The state of California ordered San Juan to reduce water usage by 33% …

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The costs of getting California’s Central Valley groundwater house in order

Groundwater overdraft, especially at the pace and scale now underway in the southern part of California’s Central Valley, has substantial costs – in terms of lost water availability and ground subsidence. But the discussion of those costs often occurs in a vacuum, without a discussion of the very real costs incurred by fixing the problem. …

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Granite Bay and the California water ethic

When I read this Phillip Reese story Monday evening about a California community willfully defying the state’s water conservation orders, the name of the place rang a bell. I shot off an email to my friend Cynthia Barnett, author of the wonderful Blue Revolution, a call for a new water ethic in the United States. “Wasn’t …

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Hanak on federal agriculture policies and water

When we think of federal water policy, we think Bureau of Reclamation or EPA. But just as agriculture is where the water is, federal agriculture agencies are where the money is. Ellen Hanak of the Public Policy Institute of California had a post yesterday with some useful suggestions for spending it well: Practical reforms in …

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