Water conservation = less water to move our poo

This is something we’ve seen in Albuquerque over the last two decades of remarkable municipal water conservation success: revenue shortfalls with the old business model of selling water and, ickier, a change in what my UNM colleague Bruce Thomson calls “turd mechanics”. Matt Stevens in the LA Times: Shorter showers, more efficient toilets and other …

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Cliff Dahm returns to Sacramento to help sort out the delta mess

I’ve begun putting scare quotes around “retirement” for some of my University of New Mexico water mentors. To that list, add Cliff Dahm, the ecologist and Inkstain brain trust member whose “retirement” party in May paved the way for this: SACRAMENTO – Dr. Clifford Dahm, an internationally recognized expert in aquatic ecology, climatology, restoration biology, …

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Another Southern California ag to municipal water sharing deal takes shape

The Imperial Irrigation District’s board tomorrow will consider an expanded agreement with the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California that would provide additional flexibility for water conservation in the big desert agricultural district and move water to meet near term drought response needs in the region’s coastal cities. The deal uses the “Intentionally Created Surplus” …

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In pursuit of resilience, it helps to be rich

“Resilience”, as defined by these folks, is a useful framework for understanding drought and water management. The goal is a system that can withstand shock and retain its basic structure and function. For example by that metric, as Charles Fishman has pointed out, California during the current drought has demonstrated resilience. New Orleans and Katrina …

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The Las Vegas water conservation model

Sammy Roth, a reporter for the Desert Sun in Palm Springs, took a trip this month to Las Vegas to share with his California readers how they do the water conservation thing in urban Nevada: When it comes to saving water, Sin City has the Coachella Valley beat. Las Vegas can credit its water frugality …

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El Niño and New Mexico’s Rio Grande

Does the looming El Niño mean we can expect a big year on the Rio Grande? Not necessarily. The scatter in the data is huge, but hidden in the data is a bit of a nudge in the direction of wet: That’s native flow at Otowi, the key Rio Grande measurement point north of Albuquerque. There’s …

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In Monson, Calif., where the drought problem is really a poverty problem

Brett Walton returns to Monson, Calif., to visit a community losing its water, and finds some signs of hope, but serious problems yet: An unincorporated rectangle of land in Tulare County, tiny Monson, home to no more than 200 people, became an international symbol of the rural heartache that is flowing from California’s drought wound. …

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In California, clarifying what we mean by “drought”

Preparing for a lecture for next week for the University of New Mexico Water Resources Program class I’m co-teaching, I’m having the students read this piece by my drought guru Kelly Redmond: Most concepts of drought involve a water balance. This implies that both supply and demand must be considered, as well as the question …

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The Lower Colorado: no shortage for now, but that pesky structural deficit’s still there

No Lower Colorado River shortage for now, but don’t break out the party hats. Lake Mead is forecast to end calendar year 2015 with a surface elevation of 1,082.33 feet above sea level, according to new numbers released yesterday by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. The current forecast for the end of 2016 is 1,079.57. …

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