Why should I conserve just so those other guys can have the water?

This story is a bit of a garble, but it illustrates one of the central challenges in making water conservation deals in the Colorado River Basin. Here’s how I explained it in my book: Within the network of state and water-agency representatives working on Colorado River Basin problems, there is a clear recognition that eventually …

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don’t let the dry March overshadow the good news for Lake Mead

Chris Harris, the new executive director of the Colorado River Board of California (just named to the job Wednesday, congratulations, Chris!) made a point in the comments of this post that’s worth highlighting. While the dry March in the Upper Colorado River Basin has eating into the runoff forecast, likely eliminating the chance of a …

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US-Mexico water sharing deal is sparing Colorado River users from shortage

In my book, I focused a great deal on the environmental and cultural benefits of the “pulse flow” through the Colorado River Delta, enabled by a 2012 agreement between the United States and Mexico. It was a shiny bauble, but there’s a lot more to the agreement than that. Most important from the perspective of …

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Henry Mancini and the fountain at the Bellagio Hotel

Some years ago, on one of my first reporting trips to Las Vegas for my book, a friend who introduced me to the fountain in front of the Bellagio Hotel suggested a bit of economics that lingered. He pointed up to the big hotel and ventured a guess at the revenue flowing through it – …

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the real risks on the Colorado River – a lack of appropriate rules

We’re devoting a lot of attention in the Colorado River Basin to preventing “shortage”, which will happen if Lake Mead enters any given year below elevation 1,075. The discussions are around a new “Drought Contingency Plan” that would reduce water use in the basin, heading off the risk of 1,075 (now at a one in …

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Climate change is already sapping the Colorado River

A warming climate is already reducing the flow in the Colorado River, and the future risk is large, with a worst case of the river’s flow being cut in half by the end of the century, according to a new study from a pair of the region’s leading researchers. While precipitation declines since the turn …

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Colorado River Basin snowpack suggests a good runoff year

While we were all distracted by the chaos at Oroville Dam, the snowpack above Lake Powell on the Colorado River last week climbed above normal for the year. By this measure from the CBRFC, it’s at 57 percent above average for mid-February. It doesn’t usually peak until early April. Based on the latest round of …

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Maite Arce, Mike Connor on the need for collaboration with Mexico on the Colorado River

It is critically important that the new administration reach out to our partners in the Mexican government to seal a new deal on shared water shortages by the 2017 deadline. The agreement will help ensure that adequate water levels are maintained in Lake Mead, thereby protecting the interests of U.S. water users, as well as …

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Some context on the Colorado River and the U.S.-Mexico reset

Rhea Graham, a savvy veteran of western water governance, made an interesting observation about my book over on Goodreads: One of the few thoughtful discussions of the Lower Colorado River international boundary, it unwittingly becomes context for the reset of USA-Mexico relations begun in 2017. I spend a good deal of time in Water is …

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