Henry Mancini and the fountain at the Bellagio Hotel

Some years ago, on one of my first reporting trips to Las Vegas for my book, a friend who introduced me to the fountain in front of the Bellagio Hotel suggested a bit of economics that lingered. He pointed up to the big hotel and ventured a guess at the revenue flowing through it – …

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the real risks on the Colorado River – a lack of appropriate rules

We’re devoting a lot of attention in the Colorado River Basin to preventing “shortage”, which will happen if Lake Mead enters any given year below elevation 1,075. The discussions are around a new “Drought Contingency Plan” that would reduce water use in the basin, heading off the risk of 1,075 (now at a one in …

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Climate change is already sapping the Colorado River

A warming climate is already reducing the flow in the Colorado River, and the future risk is large, with a worst case of the river’s flow being cut in half by the end of the century, according to a new study from a pair of the region’s leading researchers. While precipitation declines since the turn …

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Colorado River Basin snowpack suggests a good runoff year

While we were all distracted by the chaos at Oroville Dam, the snowpack above Lake Powell on the Colorado River last week climbed above normal for the year. By this measure from the CBRFC, it’s at 57 percent above average for mid-February. It doesn’t usually peak until early April. Based on the latest round of …

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Maite Arce, Mike Connor on the need for collaboration with Mexico on the Colorado River

It is critically important that the new administration reach out to our partners in the Mexican government to seal a new deal on shared water shortages by the 2017 deadline. The agreement will help ensure that adequate water levels are maintained in Lake Mead, thereby protecting the interests of U.S. water users, as well as …

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Some context on the Colorado River and the U.S.-Mexico reset

Rhea Graham, a savvy veteran of western water governance, made an interesting observation about my book over on Goodreads: One of the few thoughtful discussions of the Lower Colorado River international boundary, it unwittingly becomes context for the reset of USA-Mexico relations begun in 2017. I spend a good deal of time in Water is …

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soil moisture and the new forecast for an above-average year on the Colorado River

A wet January added nearly 3 million acre feet to the Colorado River runoff forecast, with the Feb. 1 forecast update from the Colorado Basin River Forecast Center sitting at 9.5 million acre feet for April through July. That is 34 percent above average. The snowpack currently sits at 56 percent above average. The dropoff …

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Excellent Colorado River snowpack

At this critical time of year for Colorado River snowpack, things are looking very good. For the first time this year, the April-July runoff forecast has climbed above 10 million acre feet. The snowpack among the sites above Lake Powell where the federal government maintains real-time monitoring equipment is 57 percent above the long term …

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Jewell announces bridge to completion of Colorado River deals

update: here’s a link to the full text of the Secretarial order Page 1 of Jan. 18, 2017 Colorado River Interior Secretarial Order Contributed to DocumentCloud by John Fleck of Beyond the Water Wars • View document or read text The Obama administration’s senior western water leadership this afternoon announced a Colorado River water management …

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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 …

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