We keep projecting that water use will go up. We keep mostly being wrong.

Jian Wang and David E. Rosenberg at Utah State have put together an incredibly helpful compilation of past projections of Upper Colorado River Basin consumptive use, as compared to what then actually happened: When averaged over the long term, each scenario of future consumptive use over-estimated the observed consumptive use. Herein lies the space for …

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Robert Moses, the Colorado River, and the tragedy of the anticommons

[T]he anticommons refers to situations where there are numerous overlapping rights holders (or what might also be seen as numerous policy advocacy coalitions) each with some power to veto or block system or operation change. The tragedy emerges when the composite effect of such power prevents significant change in the system. – Jones, Benjamin A., …

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Retiring coal plants as a Colorado River Basin demand management strategy

OK, “strategy” is not exactly the right word here, but we take our water conservation where we can find it, eh? Luke Runyon took a nice dive into the water supply implications of the West’s wave of coal plant retirements. Because coal plants use water. Here’s my coauthor Eric Kuhn on the implications: “As a …

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The Future Lake Powell: Feb. 20, Moab

update: It’s apparently at 6 p.m., not 6:30, thanks to alert reader! My coauthor, Eric Kuhn, will be joining a bunch of other Colorado River smart people tomorrow (Thurs. Feb. 20, 2020) in Moab for an event organized by Utah State’s Center for Colorado River Studies: February 20, 2020 — The Future of Lake Powell Forum …

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“in tribute to a million acre feet” – Herbert Hoover and Arizona’s Gila water

My thanks to a friend who recently pointed me, as we discussed the appropriate ways to account for Arizona’s use of tributary Colorado River water, to the above bit of history. In the official transcript of a 1946 congressional hearing, which was then gleefully repeated down through the years (you can see it on p. …

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Levels of uncertainty on the Colorado River

One of the great lessons of the last two decades on the Colorado River is the futility of the “search for certainty”. No one number for “the flow of the Colorado River” can allow us to plan for the future. We face the formidable task of building a river new management framework that is robust …

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Taking New Mexico’s Gila water from the San Juan?

Old John Fleck would have happily explained to you why this from Bruce Babbitt is a terrible idea: Damming the Gila River is a vampire proposal that would suck the life out of Southern New Mexico’s most treasured wild and scenic river. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham wants to kill the project. Both of New Mexico’s …

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Breaking through the Colorado River clutter: Science Be Dammed

Eric and I could not be more happy about this from John Berggren. There are countless Colorado River resources available to learn about the history of how the river has been and continues to be governed. Hundreds of books, reports, studies, and papers have been written on the subject. Accordingly, it takes something quite new …

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