How we use water in the desert: Hatch green chiles

On a bit of a water nerd’s lark today, I ended up knee deep in a chile field outside Salem, New Mexico, in the area technically known as the Rincon Valley but more commonly called the Hatch Valley. It’s a ribbon of green (to borrow John Van Dyke’s memorable phrase) gripping the Rio Grande as …

Continue reading ‘How we use water in the desert: Hatch green chiles’ »

USBR: Gila diversion costs exceed benefits

On the scale of Colorado River water diversions yet unbuilt, the possibility of taking water out of the Gila River in southwestern New Mexico is small stuff – 14,000 acre feet per year, or maybe less if the water’s simply not there. But the current debate in New Mexico illustrates a common refrain as western …

Continue reading ‘USBR: Gila diversion costs exceed benefits’ »

Is the basin the wrong scale to look at Colorado River (or Rio Grande) system groundwater losses?

I think the answer to my rhetorical question in this post’s headline is obviously “no”. I think this is enormously useful data. But I’m still puzzling over who beyond clickbaiting bloggers like myself might use it, and how. In his coverage of the GRACE Colorado Basin groundwater depeletion, Brett Walton at Circle of Blue included …

Continue reading ‘Is the basin the wrong scale to look at Colorado River (or Rio Grande) system groundwater losses?’ »

Stuff I helped write elsewhere: Endangered Species Act litigation on the Rio Grande

From this morning’s Albuquerque Journal (behind a GoogleSurveyWall for non-subscribers, sorry): Citing “two decades of broken promises by federal and state water managers,” a Santa Fe-based environmental group filed a federal lawsuit against two government agencies Thursday alleging they failed “to secure dynamic and perennial flows for the Rio Grande” needed to protect the silvery …

Continue reading ‘Stuff I helped write elsewhere: Endangered Species Act litigation on the Rio Grande’ »

Stuff I wrote elsewhere: moving groundwater in New Mexico

The Augustin Plains Ranch project, New Mexico’s version of a trend toward meeting urban needs in the west by pumping rural groundwater in to cities, is taking another whack at winning state approval after losing resoundingly two years ago: A for-profit group hoping to pump New Mexico groundwater to the Rio Grande Valley and sell …

Continue reading ‘Stuff I wrote elsewhere: moving groundwater in New Mexico’ »

Stuff I wrote elsewhere – the Cooper’s hawks of Albuquerque

From this morning’s newspaper, a column about a day with a research team studying the Cooper’s hawks that are making an increasingly comfortable living around my city: Cooper’s hawks are primarily woodland birds, and we have built an expansive urban forest across the Northeast Heights. The urban neighborhoods on the east side of the river …

Continue reading ‘Stuff I wrote elsewhere – the Cooper’s hawks of Albuquerque’ »