The question of reservoir evaporation – How much water are the Lower Colorado River Basin states really using?

The conventional simplification of the Colorado River Compact’s water allocation scheme is that it set aside 7.5 million acre feet of water use for the “exclusive beneficial consumptive use” of the states of the Lower Basin – Nevada, Arizona, and California. In the 21st century, the official accounting shows the Lower Basin states using an …

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Science Be Damned

When USGS reports a century ago suggested there wasn’t enough water to meet the allocations of the Colorado River Compact, the politicians just kinda pretended they weren’t there. I wasn’t done this blatantly: Hours after President Trump assailed guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for reopening schools, Vice President Mike Pence, …

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The roots of a coming Lake Powell Pipeline legal tangle

By Eric Kuhn As Utah pushes forward with its proposed Lake Powell Pipeline – an attempt move over 80,000 acre feet per year of its Upper Colorado River Basin allocation to communities in the Lower Basin – it is worth revisiting one of the critical legal milestones in the evolution of what we have come …

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Kuhn and Fleck talk about “Science Be Dammed”. May 6, in the cloud.

Between trying to figure out how to work with graduate students I can’t see in person, and starting nervously at our pantry counting cans of beans, it’s been hard to do any of the work that has sustained me these last many years. Thinking, and writing. As the fog settled in back in March, one …

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California’s 2019 use of Colorado River water lowest since 1950

While Colorado River water management eyes were focused elsewhere this year – on the big snowpack up north, or the chaos success of the Drought Contingency Plan – California has quietly achieved a remarkable milestone. Its use of Colorado River water in 2019 will be 3.858 million acre feet. The last time it was below …

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A book arrived at my house yesterday by post

My early review copy arrived yesterday, ahead of the “official” Nov. 26 publication of the new Eric Kuhn-John Fleck book Science Be Dammed: How Ignoring Inconvenient Science Drained the Colorado. River. I’ve got but one – I talked to Eric this morning up in Glenwood Springs, Colorado, (in the Upper Basin) and he’s got a …

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From “The Great Mistake” to “Science Be Dammed”

When I was wrestling six years ago with a path through what became my book Water Is For Fighting Over, I collected material about what I came to call “the great mistake” – the overallocation of the Colorado River’s water. One of my favorite stories surrounded William Sibert: It is quite probable that the compact …

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Las Vegas Bay: a path into the story of the Colorado River

I’m talking with University of New Mexico Water Resources Program students about the Colorado River this week, and pulling together some readings I had occasion to revisit the opening of The New Book: The boat ramp at Las Vegas Bay, once a shimmering recreation mecca on the shores of Lake Mead, now ends in a …

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Upper Colorado River Basin water use: well below our compact allocation, not going up

tl;dr Folks in the Upper Colorado River Basin are only using ~60 percent of their Colorado River Compact allocation Use has been basically flat since 1990. It is not going up. A couple of weeks ago I got an email, with an attached spreadsheet, from my co-author Eric Kuhn.  It was his distillation of data …

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