Odds favor wet late winter, spring across Colorado River Basin

With the current snowpack in the Colorado Basin watersheds above Lake Powell at 93 percent of average (source: CBRFC), we’re entering the critical time for the 2015-16 water year on the Colorado River. Today’s forecast from the federal government’s Climate Prediction Center has the odds tipped toward a wet later winter and spring, but not …

Continue reading ‘Odds favor wet late winter, spring across Colorado River Basin’ »

Odds now favor a Lower Colorado River Basin shortage declaration in 2018

The latest U.S. Bureau of Reclamation two-year Colorado River operational forecast, released last week, projects that Lake Mead will end December 2017 at elevation 1,074.2 feet above sea level, about 10 inches below the level that would trigger a first ever shortage declaration on the Lower Colorado River. Here’s the legal mumbo-jumbo: In years when …

Continue reading ‘Odds now favor a Lower Colorado River Basin shortage declaration in 2018’ »

Colorado Basin snowpack lagging, forecast for a wet spring

The snowpack this morning in the Colorado River Basin above Lake Powell (source: CBRFC) measures at 90 percent of average for this date, which is a bit nerve wracking with the basin’s reservoirs only half full (source: USBR pdf). The latest forecast runs from the National Centers for Environmental Prediction, the folks who run the …

Continue reading ‘Colorado Basin snowpack lagging, forecast for a wet spring’ »

More California state money for the Salton Sea

California Gov. Jerry Brown has requested $80 in his new budget for dust mitigation and habitat restoration at the Salton Sea, Jesse Marx and Sammy Roth report: That’s less than the $150 million local officials wanted, but still far more than the state has ever allocated for restoration projects at the dying lake. The money …

Continue reading ‘More California state money for the Salton Sea’ »

Note to self: invest my next $31.8 million in Palo Verde real estate

All the cool kids seem to be buying up real estate in the Palo Verde Irrigation District. First it was the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, which has upped its stake in the Colorado River farming valley to 22,000 acres. Now comes news that Almarai, a dairy company, bought 1,790 acres to grow food …

Continue reading ‘Note to self: invest my next $31.8 million in Palo Verde real estate’ »

Turning on Davis Dam, 65 years ago tomorrow

Davis Dam has always been overshadowed by its Lower Colorado River siblings – the scale of Hoover Dam, the striking architecture of Parker Dam, the ability of Imperial Dam to move all that water to the farms to the south and west. Davis mostly generates power, and power generation has always been a bit of …

Continue reading ‘Turning on Davis Dam, 65 years ago tomorrow’ »

California wetting up, Colorado Basin will have to wait

My California water friends are breathing a tiny bit easier, as an El Niño-fueled jet stream queues up a series of storms for the parched state. But the latest forecast models suggest the Colorado River Basin is going to have to wait its turn. The invaluable Daniel Swain wrote a couple of days ago about …

Continue reading ‘California wetting up, Colorado Basin will have to wait’ »

2015 puts Sierra Nevada-Colorado Basin linkage in stark relief

If you care about Colorado River Basin water, it behooves you to pay attention to the snowpack in California’s Sierra Nevada. It’s an entirely different watershed, but 2015 demonstrated how the interconnections in California’s plumbing have left the two inextricably linked. The tl;dr version of two interrelated points below: California’s drought has put pressure on the Colorado …

Continue reading ‘2015 puts Sierra Nevada-Colorado Basin linkage in stark relief’ »