declining Lower Colorado River Basin water use

Amid the Colorado River water management attention last week rightly focused on the fact that a wet winter in the Upper Basin means a big release this year from Lake Powell to help refill Lake Mead, I missed another bit of business that may be even more important. The Bureau of Reclamation’s planning model is …

Continue reading ‘declining Lower Colorado River Basin water use’ »

“reconciliation ecology” in the rice fields of California

Reconciliation ecology, the field’s founders say, “says we still have time to save most of the world’s species. But to do it, we must stop trying to put an end to civilization and human enterprise. Instead, we need to work on the overwhelming bulk of the land — the places we humans use. We need …

Continue reading ‘“reconciliation ecology” in the rice fields of California’ »

California’s remarkable resilience in the face of drought

We’ll be analyzing lessons from California’s drought for a while yet. But what I view as the most important lesson is already clear. The L.A. Times’ Bettina Boxall, one of the state’s most experienced and respected water reporters, summed it up thus: [O]n the whole, this intricately plumbed state proved to be surprisingly resilient in …

Continue reading ‘California’s remarkable resilience in the face of drought’ »

In California, another aquifer turns the corner

Ian James on new work by USGS researcher Michelle Sneed on the aquifer beneath the Coachella Valley, west of California’s Salton Sea: Since 2010, she said, groundwater levels have either stabilized or risen in many parts of the valley, in large part due to replenishment of the aquifer at percolation ponds. “Every well I’ve looked …

Continue reading ‘In California, another aquifer turns the corner’ »

To fix Oroville, they shut down a river. Then built a road.

This Bee aerial video of the work on the Feather River to try to cope with the problems at Oroville Dam is an amazing illustration of the scale of human intervention in rivers: Click through for the full video, no one screen grab can do it justice. They’ve completely shut down the spillway so they …

Continue reading ‘To fix Oroville, they shut down a river. Then built a road.’ »

A nice storage bump for Colorado River reservoirs, but they’re still pretty empty

Talking this week to members of the Colorado River water governance brain trust at the Family Farm Alliance‘s annual gathering in Las Vegas, there was a weird vibe about the big snowpack building in the Rockies. My quick take based on the February USBR modeling plus the latest forecast info from the CBRFC Lake Powell …

Continue reading ‘A nice storage bump for Colorado River reservoirs, but they’re still pretty empty’ »

California’s finally wet enough that the Metropolitan Water District of So Cal could store this year

This is a big deal: The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, which gathers water for 19 million people in the region, expects it can now begin storing water for future years. In recent years, it had been using up its water reserves. It’s just one bit of a thoroughly excellent piece on the state …

Continue reading ‘California’s finally wet enough that the Metropolitan Water District of So Cal could store this year’ »

Throwback Thursday: the 1885 Riverside Citrus Fair

Starting to think about what my next book might be, I’ve been reading about the history of citrus agriculture in the Southern California of my birth. My interest, in terms of the book, is the way the evolution of irrigation technology and governance maps onto the working landscape that was, for a time, the richest …

Continue reading ‘Throwback Thursday: the 1885 Riverside Citrus Fair’ »

I’ll be on KQED tomorrow, 9:30 Pacific Time, talking water

Hey San Francisco Bay Area friends, I’ll be on your radios tomorrow (Friday 12/30/16) at 9:30 am Pacific time. I’ll explain how to solve all the water problems. Actually, I think thanks to the Internet thing you may be able to listen even if you don’t have a radio and/or are not in the Bay …

Continue reading ‘I’ll be on KQED tomorrow, 9:30 Pacific Time, talking water’ »