U.S.-Mexico Colorado River deal is close

With a Senate Hearing tomorrow and a meeting of the Central Arizona Water Conservation District Thursday, we’re starting to see the public rollout of a Colorado River management agreement between the United States and Mexico that now looks like it’s on track to be signed within the next few months. The biggest clue that this could really …

Continue reading ‘U.S.-Mexico Colorado River deal is close’ »

Arizona misters and the value of water

When we think today about Arizona’s water problems, we imagine large lawns in sprawling suburbs in and around Phoenix, golf courses, and “misters”—those devices that fritter away water into the hot desert air to cool the customers eating at outdoor restaurants in the Valley of the Sun. Me, in Water is For Fighting Over Lissa …

Continue reading ‘Arizona misters and the value of water’ »

birds and water in a changing West

Audubon has an excellent new report on risks to birds, and all that go with them, along the rivers and arid landscape lakes across western North America. Lots there, but I think this bit is especially important: Without reform, today’s water management framework could lead to severe water shortages to large numbers of people and …

Continue reading ‘birds and water in a changing West’ »

Salton Sea fish, birds, in jeopardy even with more mitigation water

One suggested short term tool to deal with the shrinking Salton Sea is to continue putting in more water. New research suggests that, for fish and birds, it won’t help. “Mitigation water” is jargon for extra water currently diverted to the Salton Sea to make up for reduced agricultural runoff as efficiency improvements. (It’s hairy …

Continue reading ‘Salton Sea fish, birds, in jeopardy even with more mitigation water’ »

Brad Udall’s western water climate change bibliography

Speaking earlier this month at the University of Colorado’s Martz Conference, Brad Udall offered what amounted to a bibliography, both helpful and deeply unnerving, of recent scientific literature documenting what we have learned in recent years about climate change and water in the Western United States, and what it tells us about our future prospects. …

Continue reading ‘Brad Udall’s western water climate change bibliography’ »

on the Colorado River in Kremmling, a case study in coupled human and natural systems

One of the main focuses of the class I help teach in the fall, “Contemporary Issues in Water Management“, is the nature and function of “coupled human and natural systems”. (In fact, might say it’s the main focus of the entire UNM Water Resources Program, come to think of it.) One of the biggest difficulties …

Continue reading ‘on the Colorado River in Kremmling, a case study in coupled human and natural systems’ »

Beyond the Cadillac Desert

Chuck Cullom, the Central Arizona Project’s Colorado River Programs Manager, asked a great question during my lunch talk last week at the Universities Council on Water Resources annual meeting. It was a panel with me and Bill and Rosemarie Alley, who’ve written a new book on groundwater that you should click on this link and …

Continue reading ‘Beyond the Cadillac Desert’ »

loss aversion and the latest Lake Mead forecast

The Bureau of Reclamation’s June Colorado River forecast projects Lake Mead ending 2018 at elevation 1,076.5 feet above sea level, three feet higher than the Bureau’s January projection of 1,073.5. If the forecast holds, that’s enough of an increase in Mead storage, thanks to a larger-than average snowpack in the Rockies, to avoid a shortage …

Continue reading ‘loss aversion and the latest Lake Mead forecast’ »