How Lake Mead could crash

Speaking last week before the Imperial Irrigation District board, Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman showed this remarkable slide. It is remarkable for obvious reasons – it shows how easily we could crash Lake Mead! But it’s remarkable in a more subtle way that reflects a shift in our approach to the hydrologic analysis of the Colorado …

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Federal pressure to do a Colorado River water conservation deal

Catching up after a busy final week of the semester at the University of New Mexico’s Water Resources Program, I had time today to sit down and and think through the implications of this remarkable Bureau of Reclamation press release. It did a great job of achieving one of the primary goals of a news …

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What happens if we have another dry year on the Colorado River?

One of the big problems caused by the current breakdown in Colorado River diplomacy is the danger it poses if we have another bad year on the Colorado River. A new Bureau of Reclamation analysis puts some numbers to the fear – a credible risk that Lake Mead could drop to elevation 1,062 by the …

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2017 Lower Colorado River Basin water use the lowest in a quarter century

Led by California, the states of the Lower Colorado River Basin had their lowest consumptive water use in 2017 since 1992, according to a near-final tally  by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. The final numbers won’t be out until mid-May, so could change slightly, but at this point they won’t change much. And they show …

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Some helpful context for understanding the Central Arizona Project managers’ decisions in current Colorado River governance scrap

A guest post from Water Nerd, originally posted in the comments here and lifted, with permission, into a post of its own. It’s a valuable contribution to the discussion of the current scrapping on the Colorado River. ******** One of the most interesting ideas you discuss in your book is the application of Elinor Ostrom’s …

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Denver Water’s Jim Lochhead on the current Colorado River mess

In his April 16 letter to the Central Arizona Project’s management team, Denver Water’s Jim Lochhead, one of the leaders of the Colorado River water management community for more than two decades, was very explicit in the use of the word “manipulation” to describe what he believes the CAP is doing with its Lake Mead …

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What the Everyone Else in the Colorado River Basin v. Central Arizona Project fracas is really all about

It’s reasonable to ask whether the fracas over Colorado River water management, which has pitted the Central Arizona Project against just about everyone else in the basin, is evidence that the thesis of my book – that we are in an era of unprecedented collaboration in Colorado River governance, that water is not really for …

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Fulp honored

From the Bureau of Reclamation: The Bureau of Reclamation’s Lower Colorado Regional Director, Terrance J. Fulp, Ph.D., received the Meritorious Service Award from the Department of the Interior this week. Fulp has devoted his 27-year federal career to the Lower Colorado Region by making lasting contributions to improving operations and developing solutions for complicated water …

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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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