Questions about the Gila Diversion

In the Colorado River Basin writ large, 14,000 acre feet of water is a very small rounding error – less than one tenth of one percent of the river’s flow. But the New Mexico discussion over the possibility of a diversion high in the watershed of the Gila River in New Mexico, raises fascinating questions …

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Mulroy: Lake Mead’s bathtub ring is not just Las Vegas’s problem

Former Southern Nevada water chief Pat Mulroy explains that, while Las Vegas is an easy rhetorical landing spot because it is right next door to Lake Mead, the dropping Colorado River reservoir is a basin wide issue: What we are experiencing is not a Las Vegas problem — it is truly a regional problem that …

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Colorado River Basin forecast for the winter of 2014-15: “meh”

Even with the fizzling El Niño forecast, the winter outlook for the United States released by the Climate Prediction Center yesterday looks awfully El Niño-like, with odds favoring wetter weather across the southern tier of states. But for the bulk of the Colorado River Basin’s water-producing region, which is in the central Rockies, the forecast looks …

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Bonus water likely for Lake Mead in 2015, but it’ll just keep dropping anyway

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s key August forecast, out today (pdf),projects that there will be enough water in the Colorado River system next year to release a bonus pulse of 770,000 acre feet of water from Lake Powell down to lake Mead above and beyond the legal requirements of the Colorado River Compact. But even with …

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USBR: Gila diversion costs exceed benefits

On the scale of Colorado River water diversions yet unbuilt, the possibility of taking water out of the Gila River in southwestern New Mexico is small stuff – 14,000 acre feet per year, or maybe less if the water’s simply not there. But the current debate in New Mexico illustrates a common refrain as western …

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Why Lake Mead keeps dropping

Water released from Lake Mead, through Hoover Dam’s turbines, travels downstream about 150 miles to Lake Havasu. There, massive pumps on the river’s left bank push the water up on the start of a 336 mile journey that ends in groundwater spreading basins west of Tucson. The Colorado River’s water then recharges an aquifer, where …

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Annals of Indian water: “hot, scorching sands”

Most of the land in these reservations is and always has been arid. If the water necessary to sustain life is to be had, it must come from the Colorado River or its tributaries. It can be said without overstatement that when the Indians were put on these reservations they were not considered to be …

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Total storage behind Hoover, Glen Canyon Dams

While all eyes have been on Lake Mead’s bathtub ring, Lake Powell is forecast to rise by nearly 1.4 million acre feet by the end of September. But Mead’s 2 million acre foot drop will more than offset the increase, leaving us with the lowest end-of-year total storage in the two reservoirs combined since 1967, …

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