Postel on watching a river’s return

Sandra Postel on the experience of watching water return to the Colorado’s sandy delta bed, again and again: For me, some of the most powerful experiences have come from visiting the same location twice – before the river got there, and then again after its arrival. One morning, we visited a dry, sun-baked, sand-filled channel …

Continue reading ‘Postel on watching a river’s return’ »

Mulroy joining Brookings

To Colorado Basin water nerds’ favorite question – What’s Pat up to? – we have an answer. According to the Las Vegas Sun, former Las Vegas water czar Pat Mulroy is joining the Brookings Mountain West project: Robert Lang, director of Brookings Mountain West, said the shrinking Colorado River is one of the most critical …

Continue reading ‘Mulroy joining Brookings’ »

Alvarado Dr., Holbrook, Ariz.

This isn’t just old west ruin porn. There’s actually a water policy question here. This is in Holbrook, Ariz. There’s a big, expensive new levee protecting this neighborhood from the Little Colorado River. These properties back onto the levee. How do they decide whose property warrants protection?

A weird dry stretch

Here’s a statistical oddity. Through April 14, we’ve measured 0.4 inches (10 mm) of precipitation at the National Weather Service’s Albuquerque gauge in 2014, about 23 percent of the long term mean. This is the seventh straight year that Albuquerque has been below average through April 14. 2007 is the last calendar year in Albuquerque …

Continue reading ‘A weird dry stretch’ »

AMACRQ: Colorado River Use Bar Graph

A couple of weeks back, I made a quickie bar graph to provide some context for the amount of water involved in the Colorado River Delta pulse flow. It was half-assed. A reader asked for more: “Would love it more if it included other things, like Las Vegas consumption, MWD consumption, UB pasture irrigation, and …

Continue reading ‘AMACRQ: Colorado River Use Bar Graph’ »

Margaret Bowman on the Colorado Basin solution space

From an interesting talk last month by Margaret Bowman on a vision of what the Colorado River Basin solution space might look like (pdf of talk text here): [T]he region’s agricultural industry will be modernized with more efficient irrigation technologies. This modernization will not only increase the productivity of agriculture, but will also result in …

Continue reading ‘Margaret Bowman on the Colorado Basin solution space’ »

The National Environmental Policy Act in western water

The National Environmental Policy Act – NEPA – is a weird bird. It’s one of the earliest of a suite of U.S. environmental laws that took shape in the 1960s and ’70s as environmental values grew into a substantive element of our nation’s politics. It doesn’t actually protect anything, but it does require the U.S. …

Continue reading ‘The National Environmental Policy Act in western water’ »

Via Nature podcast, Alex Witze on the grand pulse flow experiment

If I’d done the geek stuff right, hit the play button below to hear a really nice piece by Alex Witze of Nature magazine from the Colorado River delta pulse flow. (I know, it’s a magazine, this is audio. Brave new world and all.) If I haven’t done the geek stuff right, you can probably …

Continue reading ‘Via Nature podcast, Alex Witze on the grand pulse flow experiment’ »

It now looks like 2017 is the earliest we could see a shortage declaration on the Colorado River

The latest Bureau of Reclamation monthly basin operating report, out today (the “24-month study”, pdf), makes it increasingly clear that we’re not going to see Lake Mead drop to levels that would require a shortage declaration in 2016. The shortage is based on Lake Mead’s surface elevation, and the trigger level is 1,075 feet above sea …

Continue reading ‘It now looks like 2017 is the earliest we could see a shortage declaration on the Colorado River’ »