the real risks on the Colorado River – a lack of appropriate rules

We’re devoting a lot of attention in the Colorado River Basin to preventing “shortage”, which will happen if Lake Mead enters any given year below elevation 1,075. The discussions are around a new “Drought Contingency Plan” that would reduce water use in the basin, heading off the risk of 1,075 (now at a one in …

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Climate change is already sapping the Colorado River

A warming climate is already reducing the flow in the Colorado River, and the future risk is large, with a worst case of the river’s flow being cut in half by the end of the century, according to a new study from a pair of the region’s leading researchers. While precipitation declines since the turn …

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in Mosul, city residents digging for their own groundwater

A remarkable piece in this morning’s New York Times about urban residents’ drive for water: MOSUL, Iraq — The water taps are dry in Rashidiya. The water and sewage system collapsed in this eastern Mosul neighborhood after 100 days of street combat. On Sunday, Haitham Younis Wahab and his neighbor Shamsuldeen Ahmed Saed decided to …

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No, this water litigation is not “war”

From the OED: war: a. Hostile contention by means of armed forces, carried on between nations, states, or rulers, or between parties in the same nation or state; the employment of armed forces against a foreign power, or against an opposing party in the state. (emphasis added) Going to court – an institution that provides …

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“The Dam” by Robert Byrne – an Oroville ro·man à clef?

My friend and University of New Mexico water nerd colleague Bruce Thomson has found some timely reading for us – The Dam, a novel by Robert Byrne. Bruce is on UNM’s engineering faculty and taught our engineering ethics course for many years. Quoting Bruce: It’s a short novel (244 pages) about a young engineer who …

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Colorado River Basin snowpack suggests a good runoff year

While we were all distracted by the chaos at Oroville Dam, the snowpack above Lake Powell on the Colorado River last week climbed above normal for the year. By this measure from the CBRFC, it’s at 57 percent above average for mid-February. It doesn’t usually peak until early April. Based on the latest round of …

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Wetter wets, drier dries, and the lessons of Oroville Dam

The mess at Oroville Dam will have lots of dam safety lessons, but they will take time to learn. One important lesson, though, is staring us in the face: Climate change is projected to yield both more extreme flood risks and greater drought risks. That was Mike Dettinger and colleagues, writing last year in San …

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Another US-Mexico transboundary water collaboration

The Otay Water District, in California’s San Diego County, is working on a deal to buy water from a desalination plant in Mexico: Even as California residents debate whether we are free from the drought, local water agencies are looking for ways to increase their water supply. The Otay Water District is working on a …

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