Colorado River Lower Basin water users leaving nearly 500,000 acre feet in Lake Mead this year

I’m happy (nay enthusiastic!) to point out the way Lake Mead keeps dropping, but it’s worth nothing this as well: Colorado River water use in Arizona, Nevada, and California this year is currently forecast at 7.006 million acre feet (source: pdf), well below the three states’ nominal legal entitlement of 7.5 million acre feet. The …

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Shoshone hydro plant, the most fascinating water right in the West

On what is apparently Colorado River Day (who decides such things?) I made a little pilgrimage this afternoon to see the Shoshone hydro plant, just up river from the little town of Glenwood Springs on Colorado’s west slope. Shoshone has a unique place in the water management of the Colorado River Basin because of western …

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All hydrology is local, Glenwood Springs edition

Eric Kuhn, General Manager of the Colorado River District, took me for a walk along his river yesterday evening, pointing out the muddy flow of the Colorado, coming in from the left, at its confluence with the Roaring Fork River – the clear water coming in under the railroad bridge. This is on the state …

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Why water management in the Upper Colorado River Basin is so different from the Lower

CORTEZ, CO – The Spring Creek Extension Ditch Company got the OK this week from Colorado’s Southwest Basin Roundtable for a $29,000 grant to replace a 75-year-old siphon on the Spring Creek Ditch, where it crosses the Pine Valley Canal. The ditch company has been delivering water to farmers southeast of Durango since 1901. There …

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The argument for California to make a Colorado River deal

The trick now is for the three U.S. states sharing the Colorado River’s water downstream of of Lake Mead – Nevada, Arizona, and California – to negotiate some sort of a deal that reduces their collective take on the river. That’s trick one. Trick two is for state negotiators to then sell the deal back …

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Lake Powell at its highest level in four years

Despite a below-average year in the Upper Colorado River Basin, Lake Powell will reach its summer peak this year at its highest level in four years. That comes despite the fact that, once again, the Upper Basin is releasing “bonus” water from Glen Canyon Dam to prop up water users in Arizona, Nevada, California, and …

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Gila River diversion being significantly downscaled

We now have an answer to the question of where the money will come from for a billion dollar diversion to take water from the Gila River, a Colorado River tributary in southwestern New Mexico. Nowhere. Laura Paskus has the scoop on this week’s decision by the project’s governing body to abandon the Cadillac versions …

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Unsettled questions about Native American water rights in the Colorado River Basin

More than a dozen Native American communities in the Colorado River Basin have yet to have their legal entitlements to a share of the river’s water quantified, according to a new report from the Colorado River Research Group. With the river’s water already over-appropriated (meaning users, largely non-Indian, have built farms and cities that have …

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