Stuff I wrote elsewhere: Drought-tolerant alfalfa

It’s a little thing, this new breed of drought-tolerant alfalfa bred on New Mexico State University research plots in the southern part of my arid state. But it provides another clue (behind a Google surveywall) about what the path forward in western water management might look like: Adoption of a new crop takes time, so don’t …

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Does affluence make you more resilient to drought?

My quick, poorly thought out answer to the question in the post title would have been “yes”, but OtPR once again has pointed out the error in my thinking. The wealthiest California farmers, OtPR argues, have locked themselves into high value but permanent crops (especially almonds) that leave them less flexibility to respond to climate …

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Some day this drought’s gonna end….

Jim Carlton, in the Wall Street Journal last week (behind paywall, sorry*) does something I wish there was more of – looking at what happens when drought ends. In particular, a visit to Wyoming, where it was dry for a spell, then got wet: “You can get out of drought if everything goes right, and …

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Elinor Ostrom on mistrusting easy answers

The resource institutions that research has documented as working well in the field differ substantially in their detailed design but can usually be characterised as adaptive, multilevel governance systems related to complex, evolving resource systems. We need to overcome the tendency to recommend panaceas and encourage, instead, considerable experimentation at multiple levels to reduce the …

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“Sharing Water: What an Environmental Experiment in Mexico can Teach us About the Future of the Colorado River”

I’m excited to be giving a talk on the Colorado River Delta environmental pulse flow Sept. 8 at Colorado College in Colorado Springs. If you’re in the neighborhood, please come by, say “hi”, and, if possible, ask questions when I explain things poorly. The talk is a snapshot of a work in progress, so no …

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Resilience to drought, California tomato crop edition

From the USDA (pdf): Contracted production of California processing tomatoes is forecast at a record high 14.0 million tons, averaging 48.61 tons per acre, according to a survey conducted by the National Agricultural Statistics Service. The current forecasted production is 17.6 percent above the 2013 crop. Drought has been an issue for some crops, but apparently …

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Drought and those yummy California almonds

Via Brett Walton: Continuing a decades-long trend, California farmers will increase their almond acreage next year, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture report. An estimated 48,000 acres of new almond orchards will be planted next year, an estimate based on a first-ever survey of nursery sales. The increase is roughly 40 percent higher than the …

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