Tijuana: A reminder that *nine* states depend on the Colorado River

There are seven states in the U.S. and two more in Mexico that depend on the Colorado River’s water. Here, from Sandra Dibble, is a reminder that when shortage descends, it is not just Arizona (as I have been guilty of saying) that takes the first hit: In Mexico, the first impact of cutbacks on …

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Water policy and the West’s housing market

One of the intellectual frustrations with trying to wrap my head around water policy in the western United States is that it’s really sort of everything policy. There’s climate science and hydrology and history and law and agricultural economics. And, the subject for this afternoon, there’s urban development economics. Much of the policy struggle has …

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Public Policy Institute of California water mailing list

The work of Ellen Hanak and her colleagues at the Public Policy Institute of California’s water project is a model for provision of a crucial public good in water policy processes: independent information to help build a shared understanding of the resource and its use. You can sign up here to get on their mailing …

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On “water wars” rhetoric and policy options

This, by OtPR, on the why the “water wars” “fight or die” rhetoric in the midst of California drought is not only wrong but harmful: This rhetoric narrows people’s perceived choices, keeps their limbic system activated and postpones mutual solutions.  Responsible reporters and editors should stop using it. I have long thought the various possible …

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Reclamation funding preliminary Rio Grande basin study work

It’s not a full-on “Basin Study” like the Colorado River got, but the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation today announced $84,000 for preliminary work to define the scope of a Middle Rio Grande (that’s lingo for the New Mexico big) basin study. There’s bigger bucks in the announcement for Salinas and Carmel River Basins in California and …

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Walton on native water rights in the Colorado River Basin

Brett Walton has done us all a great service with a thorough look at the issues surrounding Native American water rights in the Colorado River Basin. Importantly, he’s looking at it not just as a problem, but as an example of what the solution space can look like. The stuff from Kathryn Sorensen, Phoenix’s water …

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Some thoughts on the bathtub ring and Lake Mead’s historic drop below 1,075

I’ve had my head down the last ten days reading and writing about 1940s and ’50s-era Los Angeles water management, and I look up to see that Lake Mead last week dropped below elevation 1,075, a level freighted with meaning. But what meaning, exactly? Drew Beckwith at Western Resource Advocates, in Caitlin McGlade’s story, wins for …

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Drought adaptive capacity, Kings County CA edition

In your latest reminder that California agriculture has shown some remarkable capacity to adapt to that state’s crushing drought, Todd Fitchette in Western Farm Press reports that total agricultural farm gate receipts in Kings County, in California’s drought-devastated southern Central Valley, were up 9 percent last year: Kings County agricultural values advanced 9 percent from …

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Your 1952 Aquifer Queen of Central Water Basin

Los Angeles water, management, circa 1952: There are many reasons for the diminishing underground water supply. Foremost among them, probably, is the vastly increased demand created by an unprecedented population influx and the constant press of industrial expansion. But there are important contributory reasons. Prolonged dry spells of little or no rain leave water-bearing aquifers …

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