River management in the anthropocene

“A lively debate, provocatively labeled ‘conservation in the Anthropocene,’,” my University of New Mexico colleague Ben Jones and collaborators wrote last year,  “has been taking place over what conservation, and related notions of naturalness and preservation, means where large natural systems are increasingly inter-connected or coupled to human systems.” In particular, Jones et al. were …

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When a water supply problem becomes an air quality problem

Matt Weiser (Water Deeply) has a nice interview with Mike Cohen (Pacific Institute) about one of the most interesting policy conundrums in Colorado River Basin water governance – the question of the Salton Sea. Here’s the sequence. California needs to figure out how to use less Colorado River water. Since the biggest chunk of the …

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Colorado River reservoirs rising

According to the latest Bureau of Reclamation runoff and reservoir storage forecast (the “24-month study”, pdf here), combined storage in the two largest Colorado River reservoirs, Mead and Powell, will end this water year up 3.4 million acre feet from last year. Mead is forecast to end the year up more than five feet in …

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information control and the priesthood of water

The “nilometer” was the device used in ancient Egypt to measure water levels in the Nile: Only priests and rulers, whether pharaohs or later, Roman or Arab leaders, were allowed to monitor the nilometers, and their ability to predict the behavior of the Nile was used to impress the common people. (And to determine how …

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Using less water on the Lower Colorado River

At the end of April, Lake Mead sat at 1,085 feet above sea level, more than eight feet higher than it was a year ago. That is in part thanks to a big winter upstream, which has ensured continued above-average releases from Lake Powell upstream. But equally important is the fact that folks in the …

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Flood plain connectivity, Rio Grande style

Through much of Albuquerque, the Rio Grande flows between levees at a grade slightly higher than the surrounding valley floor. As a result, storm water must be pumped over the levees into the river’s central channel, with a string of pumping stations and big pipe outfalls like this, on the east side of the river …

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we have a Deputy Interior Secretary nominee

McClatchy’s Stuart Leavenworth has details on the nominee to be of Deputy Interior Secretary, one of the key positions top the federal bureaucracy that helps manage western water: His name is David Longly Bernhardt, and he’s worked as the top lobbyist for California’s Westlands Water District, the largest agricultural entity of its kind in the …

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