In 1973, Mexico worried U.S. would slip radioactive waste into Colorado River drain water?

Minute 242, an addenda to the U.S.-Mexico Colorado River Treaty, (pdf) contemplated construction of a drain to safely carry high salinity U.S. drainage past municipal and agricultural intakes and dump it into a slough near the Sea of Cortez. It was a time of tension between the two countries over the salinity issue. (Evan Ward’s …

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Creeping toward shortage: Lake Mead now headed for bigger drop next year than we thought

Folks worried that Lake Mead might drop below elevation 1,075 and trigger a first-ever Lower Colorado River Basin shortage now have more to worry about.¬†The latest monthly model runs from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (pdf) have increased the odds, and suggest that Mead (currently at 1,077.03) could drop all the way to 1,054 by …

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Water Ranch, Gilbert, Ariz.

In Phoenix for a meeting, I had a couple of hours’ hole in my schedule and skipped out to the “Gilbert Water Ranch”. It’s an interesting example of what the water management solution space looks like in arid central Arizona. It’s a series of groundwater recharge basins in the Phoenix suburb – both treated municipal …

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Mapping the Colorado River Delta – a recognition that Mexico is a part of the basin

It’s a nuance, but of such subtleties are progress often made. In the Bureau of Reclamation’s new “Moving Forward” report on the future of the Colorado River Basin, a subtle change to the bureau’s canonical map: There, at the bottom. See that little bit poking down into Mexico? That’s the Colorado River Delta. The Bureau’s …

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A window of opportunity to move the Colorado River dialogue forward

The long awaited¬†“Moving Forward Phase 1” report on opportunities for managing water in the Colorado River Basin plopped into public view this afternoon. I’m going to use the prerogative of a journalist no longer beholden to daily deadlines to wait until I’ve actually had time to review and think about the 448 page report about …

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Maybe a second diversion to get New Mexico’s share of Lower Basin Colorado River water?

With critics saying there’s no way New Mexico can get 14,000 acre feet of water from the Gila River, as promised in the Arizona Water Settlements Act, Avelino Maestas reports that state officials are talking about a second diversion, on the San Francisco: The Gila River may not be able to supply the 14,000 acre …

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Mulroy: We’ve built one giant watershed

Pat Mulroy in the Las Vegas Sun on the interconnected west-wide artificial watershed we’ve built for ourselves, and why efforts to solve the Sacramento Delta’s problems matter to the rest of us: From the vantage point of Sacramento, the Colorado River may seem distant and disconnected to the challenges in the delta. Yet, the two …

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Warm in the West, but not as dry as you might have thought

update: Jeff Lukas, in the comments, notes that I missed something important, which is the distinction between statewide averages and the east-west precip divide. As he correctly points out, that statewide blob of wet-looking Colorado hides the fact that it’s been extremely wet to the east, and relatively dry west of the continental divide. Here’s …

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The Code of the Pirates and the Law of the River

Arizona lawyer Grady Gammage, a member of that state’s water establishment, opened a conference I attended last week with an explanation of why he became so engrossed in trying to understand “the Law of the River,” that bundle of laws and customs that govern the management and distribution of the waters of the Colorado River. …

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