Albuquerque at 127 gallons per person per day – how low can cities go?

I’m giving a talk next week at the CLE Law of the River conference in Las Vegas about what I think is one of the two most important trends in western water management. The first, which we hear a lot about, is the pressure posed by climate change and drought. The second, which I don’t think …

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Albuquerque’s water use dropped another 3 percent in 2015

The great decoupling between Albuquerque’s growth and its water use, with total use down another 3 percent in 2015, continuing a trend that over two decades has led to a 24 percent drop in water use, even as population has grown 25 percent. I don’t have population numbers yet that I need to do the …

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New Mexico’s population history, now with added sheeply goodness

In response to my cattle v. people post earlier today, Tom Swetnam asked if I had data for sheep:   @jfleck I have been looking for a graph like that! Do you have sheep numbers? Multiple times cows in early decades, I think. — Tom Swetnam (@Tom_Swetnam) January 10, 2016 USDA’s data only go back …

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New Mexico population (cattle v. people) through history

Lauren Villagran’s story in this morning’s Albuquerque Journal about the impact of the Boxing Day blizzard on New Mexico dairies is a reminder of the single most important trend in New Mexico agriculture in the last few decades – the remarkable growth of the state’s dairy industry. Some numbers on that below, but it reminded me …

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Preliminary forecast for above average flow on New Mexico’s Rio Grande

With snow on the mountains to the north, the preliminary forecast circulated yesterday by the Natural Resources Conservation Service calls for 11 percent above average flow on the Rio Grande through central New Mexico into Elephant Butte reservoir. This is early in the season, so there are still huge error bars on the numbers, with …

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California wetting up, Colorado Basin will have to wait

My California water friends are breathing a tiny bit easier, as an El Niño-fueled jet stream queues up a series of storms for the parched state. But the latest forecast models suggest the Colorado River Basin is going to have to wait its turn. The invaluable Daniel Swain wrote a couple of days ago about …

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Elephant Butte Reservoir, 2015

Elephant Butte Reservoir, the largest on the Rio Grande, will end 2015 with roughly 322,000 acre feet of water, or about 16 percent full. That’s up from 11.5 percent last year at this time: Elephant Butte provides water, primarily for irrigation, for southern New Mexico, Texas, and northern Mexico. When Elephant Butte is short, as …

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