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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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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