The untimely death and life of the Colorado River

YUMA – I brought a bicycle this week on a road trip to the Lower Colorado River, and left myself the morning today to ride out to Morelos Dam. After a quick morning of meetings yesterday in Tucson with the University of Arizona Press folks turning our words into a book, I drove on to …

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Powell forecast up a million acre feet

The Bureau of Reclamation’s monthly storage model runs, based on the latest Colorado River Basin runoff forecasts, show Lake Powell ending the water year (Sept. 30) at 13.8 million acre feet. That’s an increase of more than a million feet over the May estimate, and 2.8 million acre feet above the Sept. 30, 2018 number: …

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Is there a “Grand Bargain” to be had in the Colorado River Basin?

By Eric Kuhn and John Fleck With the Colorado River’s “Drought Contingency Plans” now completed, basin water managers are turning to the question of what happens next. That question, as we see it, is: Is there a chance at a “grand bargain” that addresses the unresolved questions head on? Or can the problems continue to …

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Final Lower Colorado River accounting for 2018

The 2018 Lower Basin accounting report is out, and if you’re interested in understanding what’s happening on the Colorado River, it’s a gold mine. Did you know, for example, that California’s annual Colorado River water use is down 21 percent from its peak in 2002? Or that the Gila Monster Farms on the Arizona side …

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In the next round of Colorado River negotiations, who will be at the table?

From a fun Q & A I did recently with Tara Lohan at The Revelator: One of the biggest difficulties is figuring out who gets to participate — who’s in the room when these deals are negotiated. And it’s just not at all clear what the process is going to look like for renegotiating guidelines. …

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John Wesley Powell at 150: How Can We Tell Better Stories?

A guest post by historian Sara Porterfield: “May 24, 1869—The good people of Green River City turn out to see us start. We raise our little flag, push the boats from shore, and the swift current carries us down.” Today marks the 150th anniversary of John Wesley Powell’s 1869 expedition down the Green and Colorado …

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What the Colorado River Drought Contingency Plan means in practice

Correction appended, I was off by 5kaf on the Nevada numbers With the backdrop of Hoover Dam, an assembly of Colorado River dignitaries signed the Drought Contingency plan yesterday afternoon. Done really is done. The Colorado River Drought Contingency Plan or DCP is now official. pic.twitter.com/35PhTojepU — Jeffrey Kightlinger (@8thGenCA) May 21, 2019 Now that …

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Central Arizona ag’s decline continues, but Pinal County is up

In the wake of Arizona’s difficulties in coming to terms with the future of central Arizona agriculture as it sorted out its approach to reducing Colorado River water use under the Drought Contingency Plan, the latest Census of Agriculture data is fascinating. The decline continues, but only just barely. The data within this data, broken …

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The Ciénega de Santa Clara and the question of “waste”

It’s important to be clear of what we mean by “waste” when we talk about “wasting” water. Because it’s always going someplace, and doing something. In Albuquerque, for example, we talk about reusing effluent from our sewage treatment plant. But we currently treat that water and put it back in the Rio Grande, where it …

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