“This is not a wet place.”

The University of Arizona’s Mike Crimmins: But the real answer might be for Arizonans and other people of the southwest to adapt to living under drought conditions. “We expect it to be a lot wetter than it is and it should be,” Crimmins said. “Just look around, the landscape tells the story. This is not …

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The Hard Path: moving water costs a lot

Brett Walton reports this morning on the initial cost estimates for a pipeline/canal thingie to move Missouri River water to western Kansas: By all measures, it would be a mammoth undertaking. A 360-mile canal to move Missouri River water uphill across Kansas would cost $US 18 billion to build and $US 1 billion per year …

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New Mexico water policy and the problems of a part-time legislature

A few years back, I put on my “water beat reporter” hat and went to Santa Fe for the spring legislative session to track some bills that I found interesting. The newspaper has a team of skilled legislative specialists who I’ve always been able to lean on, but it was fun to bring my water …

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Transparency and the Colorado River Compact

The negotiation of the 1922 Colorado River Compact governing the allocation of water from the West’s great river, and the ratification process that followed, was a politically delicate process. Precisely how delicate is made clear in a fascinating exchange of letters 10 years after between Colorado attorney Delph Carpenter (the compact’s primary architect) and Norcutt …

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To what extent does water conservation reduce resilience?

If we don’t get things right, water conservation can actually make us less resilient in the face of variability and climate change, the University of Arizona’s Christopher Scott and colleagues argue in a recent paper. It’s the case for being wary of “demand hardening”, and it raises interesting questions about current Colorado River Basin conservation …

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Stuff I wrote elsewhere: another dry year on the Rio Grande?

The January forecast is out. It is too early to panic, but not to early to have this concern duly noted: With a bad snowpack so far, even a wet spring may not be enough to forestall the fifth consecutive year of below-average runoff on the Rio Grande, according to forecaster Angus Goodbody with the …

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Add money, move water

Interesting tidbit out of California’s San Joaquin Valley: Pasture owners around Oakdale willing to go without water will be paid for fallowing their land this year, Oakdale Irrigation District directors decided Tuesday. The water saved by idling fields will be sold to thirsty out-of-county water agencies. OID landowners volunteering for the deal could collect millions …

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Stuff I wrote elsewhere: watershed health and governance models

This looks like a story about forest health, fire risk, and restoration. And in a way, I guess, it is. But beyond the specifics of the challenges they’re trying to address, the underlying governance issues that the folks at the Rio Grande Water Fund are tackling are the fascinating part: What McCarthy did next sets …

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