The “anticommons” revisited: that time Phoenix tried to leave more water in Lake Mead

Ry Rivard, a reporter for Voice of San Diego who is part of the Colorado River journalism posse, had the most tweetable summary of the dustup within Arizona and among the seven Colorado River basin states:   Arizona has two internal factions. One of them wanted to work with other states to save water. The …

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Denver Water accuses Central Arizona Project of manipulating water orders to take more water from Lake Mead

Denver Water today joined state leaders in the Upper Colorado River Basin with a letter accusing the managers of the Central Arizona Project of manipulating water orders to get more water out of the Upper Basin’s reservoir at Lake Powell. The actions of the CAP’s managers “several compromise the trust and cooperation” needed to solve …

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Colorado River Upper Basin states accuse Central Arizona Project managers of threatening the health of the Colorado River system

Upper Colorado River Basin state leaders, in a letter Friday (April 13, 2018), said the water management approach being taken by the managers of the Central Arizona Project “threaten the water supply for nearly 40 million people in the United States and Mexico, and threaten the interstate relationships and good will that must be maintained …

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Is the Central Arizona Project gaming reservoir levels to take more water from the Upper Basin?

This Central Arizona Project infographic has been a bit of a “WTF” moment in the Colorado River Basin management community: Kudos to whoever designed this. I’ve struggled to find ways to explain this. First posted to the Internet, then apparently taken down, it’s a solid explanation of the tricky way the Central Arizona Project has …

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Why, in 1928, the Bureau of Reclamation treated Mexico as part of the Colorado River Basin

A guest post by historian Sara A. Porterfield, Ph.D. Candidate, University of Colorado at Boulder As I was working on a draft of my dissertation’s introduction a couple months ago, I decided that I HAD to know what percentage of the Colorado River Basin lies in Mexico. This factoid would have taken up half of …

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The Colorado River-Sacramento Delta Connection

With an 85 percent allocation of northern California water from California’s State Water Project last year, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California was able to cut back on its use of Colorado River water, leaving more than 300,000 acre feet in Lake Mead. That water has provided a sufficient buffer than Mead will end …

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New constraints on Imperial’s ability to throttle back Colorado River water use

I’ve been puzzling over the impact of Imperial Irrigation District’s legal struggle over its “Equitable Distribution Plan”, a regulatory framework for governing how much water individual farmers can use. This story from Daniel Rothberg is a big help: As a practical matter, the repeal of the Equitable Distribution Plan lessened IID’s control over its plans to …

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Palo Verde Irrigation District withdraws lawsuit against Metropolitan Water District of Southern California

In a bit of Colorado River detente, the Palo Verde Irrigation District has filed a motion in Riverside County Superior Court to withdraw a lawsuit it had filed against the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California over the use of water on Met-owned land in the Palo Verde District:   View note The move does …

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We should probably stop calling it “drought”

Colorado River Basin Managers are working on what they call a “Drought Contingency Plan” to reduce water use, but that’s probably a bad name to describe what’s going on, as the members of the Colorado River Research Group explain in a new white paper (pdf): In current Colorado River water management, perhaps no word is used …

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Putting the water back

Laura Paskus on an encounter with Jennifer Pitt in the Colorado River Delta: Walking through the cottonwood forest, Pitt says this landscape was destroyed before anyone figured out what to do about it. When the Colorado River started running dry in the mid-20th century, there weren’t yet environmental laws to temper or stop destructive operations …

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