Reclamation is signaling potential for a big drop in Lake Mead over the next several years

Eric Kuhn points out some pretty striking numbers in the latest monthly Bureau of Reclamation Colorado River projections – a million-plus acre foot drop in expected flows on the river as we head into winter. Because of the river’s rules for coordinated operation of Lake Powell and Lake Mead, this translates into a big loss …

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A piece of Albuquerque water history: City Well #4

Scot spotted it first, a pipe sticking up a few feet above the ground, a square locked box on top of it, behind a low fence on Apple Lane in Albuquerque’s Duranes neighborhood: City Well #4. It was here on Jan. 31, 1957, that what we might think of as the first groundwater measurement of …

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“City Psychiatrist Defies Edict on Water Wells”

My new favorite water policy newspaper headline, courtesy Better Burque, a wizard of old newspaper research down a rabbit hole with me looking at Albuquerque water policy circa 1957. The psychiatrist, John W. Myers, also operated Sandia Gardens Nursery. New Mexico State Engineer Steve Reynolds was trying to put the brakes on new water well …

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Luke Runyon on the West’s three great zombie water projects

Luke Runyon published a nice piece earlier this week on setbacks to three of the Colorado River Basin’s three great zombie water projects: 2020 has been a tough year for some of the Colorado River basin’s long-planned, most controversial water projects. Proposals to divert water in New Mexico, Nevada and Utah have run up against …

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The Colorado River Basin’s Tanya Trujillo named to Biden Interior transition team

I was delighted to see my friend Tanya Trujillo’s name on the incoming Biden Administration Department of the Interior transition team list released yesterday. Tanya’s a New Mexican, former chief counsel to the New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission, and current member of the commission. She served as a legislative aide to New Mexico Sen. Jeff …

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Tensions around a wastewater reclamation collaboration in Southern California

There’s some fascinating tension around a proposed wastewater reclamation collaboration in Southern California. The project, if it goes forward, would provide some 150 million gallons per day (~170,000 acre feet per year) of treated effluent. Water now being discharged into the ocean would instead be available for aquifer recharge within Southern California. There are a …

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Climate change and the water policy funnel

Climate change, as I’ve often heard Brad Udall point out, is water change. By that, Brad means that the effect of a changing climate on people and ecosystems is most clearly felt through changes in how much water there is. I’ve been thinking about this question a lot as I work on three related projects …

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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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The Lake Powell Pipeline and the problems posed by the lack of a Lower Colorado River Basin Compact

By Eric Kuhn As the Colorado River Basin’s managers wrestle with thorny questions around the proposed Lake Powell Pipeline, a colleague who works for a Lower Colorado River Basin water agency recently asked a question that goes to the heart of the future of river management: With land in the Lower Colorado River Basin, why …

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The Gage Selfie Collection: Rio Grande at Albuquerque

One of our recent University of New Mexico Water Resources Program graduates suggested an extra credit assignment for this year’s students: stream gage scavenger hunt, with selfies. Here’s the measurement point for USGS 08330000, Rio Grande at Albuquerque, NM. Flow at the time I took it yesterday morning measured 111 cubic feet per second. Am …

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