Beyond the Cadillac Desert

Chuck Cullom, the Central Arizona Project’s Colorado River Programs Manager, asked a great question during my lunch talk last week at the Universities Council on Water Resources annual meeting. It was a panel with me and Bill and Rosemarie Alley, who’ve written a new book on groundwater that you should click on this link and …

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loss aversion and the latest Lake Mead forecast

The Bureau of Reclamation’s June Colorado River forecast projects Lake Mead ending 2018 at elevation 1,076.5 feet above sea level, three feet higher than the Bureau’s January projection of 1,073.5. If the forecast holds, that’s enough of an increase in Mead storage, thanks to a larger-than average snowpack in the Rockies, to avoid a shortage …

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Phoenix to pay Gila River Indian Communities to leave Colorado River water in Lake Mead

The Phoenix City Council today agreed to pay the Gila River Indian Communities $2 million as part of a deal to leave 40,000 acre feet of the Indian Communities’ Colorado River water in Lake Mead this year. The state of Arizona, the federal government, and the Walton Family Foundation also are contributing. From the city …

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River management in the anthropocene

“A lively debate, provocatively labeled ‘conservation in the Anthropocene,’,” my University of New Mexico colleague Ben Jones and collaborators wrote last year,  “has been taking place over what conservation, and related notions of naturalness and preservation, means where large natural systems are increasingly inter-connected or coupled to human systems.” In particular, Jones et al. were …

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When a water supply problem becomes an air quality problem

Matt Weiser (Water Deeply) has a nice interview with Mike Cohen (Pacific Institute) about one of the most interesting policy conundrums in Colorado River Basin water governance – the question of the Salton Sea. Here’s the sequence. California needs to figure out how to use less Colorado River water. Since the biggest chunk of the …

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Colorado River reservoirs rising

According to the latest Bureau of Reclamation runoff and reservoir storage forecast (the “24-month study”, pdf here), combined storage in the two largest Colorado River reservoirs, Mead and Powell, will end this water year up 3.4 million acre feet from last year. Mead is forecast to end the year up more than five feet in …

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Using less water on the Lower Colorado River

At the end of April, Lake Mead sat at 1,085 feet above sea level, more than eight feet higher than it was a year ago. That is in part thanks to a big winter upstream, which has ensured continued above-average releases from Lake Powell upstream. But equally important is the fact that folks in the …

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