Plan for a bad news future on the Colorado, or embrace uncertainty?

In Colorado River Basin planning, there is a common mistake growing out the the Bureau of Reclamation’s Basin Study. It is made by seizing on the study’s finding regarding the impact of climate change (as exemplified by the results of General Circulation Models, or GCM’s) on the river, quoted here from the executive summary (pdf), …

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Compromise on the Colorado

Assistant Secretary of the Interior Anne Castle, speaking late last month in Las Vegas: With the crucial Lake Mead reservoir at 38 percent capacity and the Southwest in the grip of the driest 15-year period in more than a century, Castle said it will take multiple, incremental agreements to balance the water rights of cities, …

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“Sharing Water: What an Environmental Experiment in Mexico can Teach us About the Future of the Colorado River”

I’m excited to be giving a talk on the Colorado River Delta environmental pulse flow Sept. 8 at Colorado College in Colorado Springs. If you’re in the neighborhood, please come by, say “hi”, and, if possible, ask questions when I explain things poorly. The talk is a snapshot of a work in progress, so no …

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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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