The Las Vegas water conservation model

Sammy Roth, a reporter for the Desert Sun in Palm Springs, took a trip this month to Las Vegas to share with his California readers how they do the water conservation thing in urban Nevada: When it comes to saving water, Sin City has the Coachella Valley beat. Las Vegas can credit its water frugality …

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The Lower Colorado: no shortage for now, but that pesky structural deficit’s still there

No Lower Colorado River shortage for now, but don’t break out the party hats. Lake Mead is forecast to end calendar year 2015 with a surface elevation of 1,082.33 feet above sea level, according to new numbers released yesterday by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. The current forecast for the end of 2016 is 1,079.57. …

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Colorado River produce in Albuquerque (courtesy Fisher Ranch)

Lissa spotted this California desert treat this morning at Trader Joe’s in Albuquerque: It’s a cantaloupe from Fisher Ranch in Blythe, Calif., owned by Bart Fisher, vice president of the Palo Verde Irrigation District board and chairman of the Colorado River Board of California. I pronounce this a fine use of senior Colorado River water …

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Palo Verde: what Colorado Basin water problem solving looks like

Tony Perry in the Los Angeles Times had a good story this weekend talking about the agreement between the Palo Verde Irrigation District and the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California to move ag water to city use in the cities’ time of need: Next year the agreement between MWD and the Palo Verde Irrigation …

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That time Lake Mead was full

This is part of a Library of Congress collection of photographs taken as part of the Historical American Engineering Record surveys, an amazing body of documentation of America’s built environment. The pictures in this LOC on line archive aren’t dated, but my best guess based on clues (a distinctive URL) is 1987. Mead was close …

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The Economist gives Las Vegas points for water management

The notion of using “Las Vegas” and “sustainable” in the same sentence might give a lot of westerners the heebee jeebees, but there’s an interesting case to be made that its water management decisions over the last decade have pointed it in that direction. The Economist, in a look at Vegas water performance in its …

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Imperial, Coachella, and the Salton Sea, from Gemini V, August 1965

The Imperial County Agriculture 1965, one in a series of reports I’ve been reading on the history of ag production in the California desert, has an insanely cool picture on its cover that sent me down the NASA rabbit hole. It’s kind of grainy, a picture of Imperial from space labeled “Gemini V Official NASA …

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Water governance is weird, PVID-MWD democracy edition

How is it that residents of Southern California’s urbanized coastal plain (sort of) have voting rights in an irrigation district clear across the state? Pull up a chair…. At its Aug. 17 meeting, the Water Planning and Stewardship Committee of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California takes up this item:   View note Let’s …

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What does El Niño mean for the Colorado River Basin?

What does the growing El Niño oceanic pattern mean for the Colorado River Basin? Best to just shrug, and say the statistics are too small to say much of anything conclusive. In the nine El Niño years since the 1960s, three have been wet, three have been in the middle, and three have been dry. Here’s a …

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