Lower Colorado shortage now unlikely in 2016, maybe not in 2017

Our big wet May looks to have all but eliminated the possibility of a Lower Colorado River Basin shortage in 2016, and it now looks like a better than 50-50 chance we won’t have one in 2017 either, according to the U.S. BureauĀ of Reclamation’s monthly outlook, published this afternoon (pdf). A shortage is triggered if …

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As Lake Mead drops, who is really vulnerable?

As Lake Mead drops toward a Lower Colorado River Basin shortage declaration, a group of UC Santa Barbara students have done an excellent analysis (pdf of their summary results) that shows where the real vulnerabilities are. They conclude that Las Vegas and the municipal areas of Central Arizona are on solid ground. Arizona farmers won’t …

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Why Lake Mead could drop an extra 15 feet next year, and shortage could be more likely than we expect

While we’ve all been obsessing over the elevation of Lake Mead, there’s a second looming lake elevation problem that could really complicate Colorado River management and increases the risk of a 2016 Arizona shortage declaration beyond the current estimates. Depending on how things play out over the next couple of months, this second problem could …

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Matt Jenkins on Pat Mulroy

Matt Jenkins, the best journalist we’ve got covering water in the western United States, has an insightful cover story in the latest High Country News on Pat Mulroy, the recently retired head of the Southern Nevada Water Authority. (Not on line yet – subscribe!) Mulroy is known for being brash and pugnacious, but Matt gets …

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Park Service to spend $5 million chasing water at Lake Mead

With Lake Mead projected to drop 15 feet between now and mid summer, to historic lows, the National Park Service is planning to spend another $5 million extending boat ramps, Steven Slivka at the Boulder City Review reported today: Vanover said drought conditions are expected to continue, and the Park Service is ready to deal …

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Springs Preserve, Las Vegas, Nev.

LAS VEGAS – I like the fact that Las Vegas, Nev., isĀ preserving the relics of its water origin story. From “spring hill” at the Springs Preserve municipal park, you can see the towers of Las Vegas’s gambling strip. Visitation at the park this afternoon when I snuck away for a bird-watching walk after a morning …

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Las Vegas, Nev.: “Splendid Climate and Pure Water”

Getting mentally packed for a reporting trip later this month to southern Nevada, I ran across this delightful bit of business, from (I think) 1904: William R. Clark, a U.S. Senator from Montana, had bought an old ranch in the valley in 1902, land that became the staging area for the Union Pacific’s construction of …

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