Why I hate “Drought Contingency Plan” (the name, not the plan)

“We really need to call [what we’re experiencing] aridification — the drying out of the Colorado River Basin because of climate change, we can’t just call it ‘drought’ anymore,” Fleck said. “It appears to be this permanent phenomenon that’s lowering the lake levels. You should not expect it to return to high lake levels over …

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Tradeoffs: Colorado River water, flowing down the Rio Grande

Faced with the challenge of teaching some or all of our coursework this fall on line, my University of New Mexico Water Resources Program colleagues and I have been having a think about what we’re trying to accomplish. A lot of the thinking revolves around translating our educational goals from face-to-face classroom discussion to the …

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March 1985: when everything on the Colorado River changed

Brett Walton had a great bit of business in yesterday’s Circle of Blue story on 2019’s remarkable drop in Colorado River Lower Basin water use: The last time water consumption from the river was that low was in 1986, the year after an enormous canal in Arizona opened that allowed the state to lay claim …

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The roots of a coming Lake Powell Pipeline legal tangle

By Eric Kuhn As Utah pushes forward with its proposed Lake Powell Pipeline – an attempt move over 80,000 acre feet per year of its Upper Colorado River Basin allocation to communities in the Lower Basin – it is worth revisiting one of the critical legal milestones in the evolution of what we have come …

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Coping with Megadrought in the Colorado River Basin

My NIDIS webinar from earlier this week is posted. Key bits: This year’s “sneaky drought” is a problem. The longer term “megadrought” (climate change-driven aridification) we seem to be in is an even bigger problem. We’ve done some great work in the Colorado River Basin reducing our use of water and building the institutional widgets …

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2020 Is a Dry Year on the Colorado River. What Happens Next Year Will Be More Important

By Eric Kuhn This winter’s decent snowfall has turned into an abysmal runoff on the Colorado River, thanks to the dry soils heading into the winter, along with a warm spring. It’s alarming, but given the large amount of storage capacity in the basin and the recent string of good runoff years in the upper …

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May 27 webinar: Coping With Megadrought in the Colorado River Basin, featuring me

I’ll be I’ll be yammering about the  Colorado River basin, sneaky droughts, and megadroughts with the folks at NIDIS (the National Integrated Drought Information System): As the Colorado River Basin experiences 2020’s “sneaky drought” amid a long term pattern that looks increasingly like one of the region’s millennial “megadroughts” that last decades, water managers are …

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Should we replace the Colorado’s “Law of the River”? Thoughts from Kathy Jacobs….

Had occasion to revisit this written several years ago by the University of Arizona’s Kathy Jacobs, it seems very much on point as we pursue the next set of Colorado River negotiations: There has been an unending chorus of people who are convinced that the “Law of the River”—the numerous contracts, laws, court decisions, and …

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My Dad’s painting of the Grand Canyon, on CBS This Morning Saturday (also me, yammering about the usual stuff)

In the Time of Pandemic, the bottom half of one of my favorite paintings by the artist R.J. Fleck (my late father) has become a feature of my Zoom lectures, and webinars, and now an appearance with John Blackstone on CBS This Morning Saturday. It’s the Grand Canyon, and I said some stuff about the …

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on the importance of tribal participation in Colorado River governance

Dennis Patch (Colorado River Indian Tribes) and Ted Kowalski (Walton Family Foundation) in the Arizona Republic: Tribal nations have historically been left out of planning and negotiations that develop river management across the Colorado River Basin. Meaningful tribal inclusion going forward will not be an easy task. It requires leadership from all involved to authentically understand …

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