Santa Fe, NM: Not like Cape Town

Julie Ann Grimm has a piece this week in the Santa Fe Reporter explaining Santa Fe’s approach to water management this year that’s a nice demonstration of why we don’t have incipient “Cape Town” situations (cities about to run out of water) in New Mexico: Groundwater wells that have mostly been resting on the city’s …

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Meanwhile, Texas is newly mad at New Mexico over water stuff

Not to be outdone by our neighbors in the Colorado River Basin to the west, here’s a letter from Texas Rio Grande Compact Commissioner Pat Gordon to New Mexico State Engineer Tom Blaine complaining that proposed water rights for a New Mexico copper mine would further cut into Texas’s share of the Rio Grande, a …

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On the U.S. part of the Rio Grande, the San Luis Valley is where most farming takes place

In water management, it’s normal to zero in on one’s local geography and not think about the larger system – especially when state lines carve up a watershed. Thus, faced with a terrible snowpack year on the Rio Grande, we’re having three largely separate conversations about agricultural water management on the U.S. part of the …

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One of the worst years in a century of records on New Mexico’s Rio Grande?

Experimenting with some data visualizations to try to help make sense of where this very dry year on the West’s rivers fits into historical context, I came up this morning with this: The spaghetti is daily flow for each year in the USGS historic record for the gauge at Embudo in northern New Mexico – …

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New Mexico Water: What Our Next Leaders Need to Know

My University of New Mexico water colleagues and I are hosting a conference May 17: New Mexico Water: What Our Next Leaders Need to Know Following the 2018 gubernatorial election, New Mexico will have new leaders of its resource management agencies. This conference will consider NM water & environmental challenges with presentations by former senior …

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The Colorado River-Sacramento Delta Connection

With an 85 percent allocation of northern California water from California’s State Water Project last year, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California was able to cut back on its use of Colorado River water, leaving more than 300,000 acre feet in Lake Mead. That water has provided a sufficient buffer than Mead will end …

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“breakdown” in Kirtland fuel spill cleanup

Albuquerque’s municipal water utility, in a strikingly worded memo yesterday, said the latest plans for managing a huge groundwater spill on and adjacent to Kirtland Air Force Base represent “a breakdown” in what was once a partnership among the water utility, the Air Force, and the New Mexico Environment Department. The new plans back away …

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Water policy implications of elk, raiding wheat fields, in Polvadera, New Mexico

I had one of those “I wish I was still a reporter” moments when Glen Duggins, at yesterday’s meeting of the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District board meeting, raised the issue of elk in Polvadera. Polvadera is an unincorporated community along the Rio Grande, between the also unincorporated communities of San Acacia and Lemitar, strung …

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We should probably stop calling it “drought”

Colorado River Basin Managers are working on what they call a “Drought Contingency Plan” to reduce water use, but that’s probably a bad name to describe what’s going on, as the members of the Colorado River Research Group explain in a new white paperĀ (pdf): In current Colorado River water management, perhaps no word is used …

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