Questions about the Gila Diversion

In the Colorado River Basin writ large, 14,000 acre feet of water is a very small rounding error – less than one tenth of one percent of the river’s flow. But the New Mexico discussion over the possibility of a diversion high in the watershed of the Gila River in New Mexico, raises fascinating questions …

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Mulroy: Lake Mead’s bathtub ring is not just Las Vegas’s problem

Former Southern Nevada water chief Pat Mulroy explains that, while Las Vegas is an easy rhetorical landing spot because it is right next door to Lake Mead, the dropping Colorado River reservoir is a basin wide issue: What we are experiencing is not a Las Vegas problem — it is truly a regional problem that …

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Colorado River Basin forecast for the winter of 2014-15: “meh”

Even with the fizzling El Niño forecast, the winter outlook for the United States released by the Climate Prediction Center yesterday looks awfully El Niño-like, with odds favoring wetter weather across the southern tier of states. But for the bulk of the Colorado River Basin’s water-producing region, which is in the central Rockies, the forecast looks …

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Drought and those yummy California almonds

Via Brett Walton: Continuing a decades-long trend, California farmers will increase their almond acreage next year, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture report. An estimated 48,000 acres of new almond orchards will be planted next year, an estimate based on a first-ever survey of nursery sales. The increase is roughly 40 percent higher than the …

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Stuff I wrote elsewhere: Is our hero (El Niño) abandoning us?

There was a great bit of humorous business that my offspring Reed helped me cook up over the weekend for this column, which ended up on the self-editing floor. The column was in part about how we all put too much stock in El Niño as our savior from drought, and Reed reminded me of that great …

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California’s drought – is this what climate adaptation looks like?

Bloomberg’s Alan Bjerga last week gave us a nice tour through the details of how California’s agricultural businesses are responding to drought conditions. He notes especially a shift, was water gets more expensive, into higher valued crops. Stuff that can be grown in places where water is cheap and plentiful, like what, into high-dollar crops …

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How we use water in the desert: Hatch green chiles

On a bit of a water nerd’s lark today, I ended up knee deep in a chile field outside Salem, New Mexico, in the area technically known as the Rincon Valley but more commonly called the Hatch Valley. It’s a ribbon of green (to borrow John Van Dyke’s memorable phrase) gripping the Rio Grande as …

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