Preliminary year-end data suggest New Mexico will meet its Rio Grande Compact obligations this year

Preliminary year-end modeling suggests New Mexico is in good shape to meet its obligations to deliver water to Texas under the Rio Grande Compact in 2018, according to data presented Thursday by the New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission to the executive committee of the Middle Rio Grande Endangered Species Collaborative Program. In a counter-intuitive twist, …

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Westlands California water tunnels “no” could be “fatal blow”

This is a big deal: Citing concerns about costs to individual farmers, Westlands Water District’s board of directors voted 7-1 against participating in the project, known officially as California WaterFix. Westlands is the first major water agency to vote on the project, and other big districts are expected to make their decisions in the coming …

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disaggregating agriculture

One of the great insights from my University of New Mexico colleague Bob Berrens, chair of the economics department and my predecessor as director of UNM’s Water Resources Program, is the importance of disaggregating agriculture. Much water policy discussion, rightly, revolves around the agriculture-municipal distinction. With ag getting (and needing) a much larger share of …

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Tamarisk beetle die-off not saving as much water as expected

The tamarisk beetle, introduced a decade ago to try to beat back an invasive tree clogging western rivers, has not saved as much water as hoped, according to new research by a team led by the USGS’s Pamela Nagler. Nagler and her colleagues used satellite data to estimate tamarisk water use before and after the …

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But do we actually need more water?

If I’m to make any useful contribution in these waning years of my career as a professional water wonk, it is trying to make this point: John Fleck, director of the Water Resources Program at the University of New Mexico, said there is no clear need for the water – not now or in the foreseeable future. “Growth …

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Palo Verde Irrigation District sues Metropolitan Water District over Colorado River water

One of California’s largest Colorado River farm water districts is suing the state’s largest municipal water agency, charging that efforts to move farm water to cities are threatening the viability of agriculture in one of the oldest farming valleys on the river. The Palo Verde Irrigation District, in a suit filed last month in Riverside …

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Was prior appropriation really about distributive justice?

From Jill Robbie at the University of Glasgow, a nice explanation of David Schorr’s revisionist account of the evolution of the “doctrine of prior appropriation” in western water law: For some law and economics scholars, the evolution of the prior appropriation doctrine is explained due to the high value of water in the dry climate …

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Some notes on New Mexico’s improving water situation

Three interesting visuals for a Friday morning to help illustrate New Mexico’s improving water situation, with caveats. One For this first time since the federal Drought Monitor began operations in January 2000, New Mexico is completely free of drought or unusually dry conditions. Our map is clear: This is excellent news, as Olivier Uyttebrouck noted …

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