A mediocre Colorado River Basin forecast

The Climate Prediction Center’s seasonal outlook, published this morning, is another “meh” for the Colorado River Basin. The good news is that odds favor wet for the southerly part of the basin, especially Arizona and New Mexico. The “meh” part is that the low country doesn’t contribute much of the river’s overall supply. Most of …

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Colorado River problems are a threat to beer

Colorado River, Water Source For Craft Beer, Drying Up: Some of the best craft beer in the US is produced in the West, in places like Colorado and California. And the craft beer culture in that part of the country is also strong. Many craft brewers, such as Stone Brewing, obtain all of their brewing …

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How drought shaped Southern California

From the Orange County (Calif.) Weekly, a story about how drought shaped Southern California: Orange County as we know it exists because of the Great Drought of 1864. It wrecked Southern California’s cattle industry, then one of the largest in the world and the heart of the area’s economy, and forced ranchers to unload their …

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Plan for a bad news future on the Colorado, or embrace uncertainty?

In Colorado River Basin planning, there is a common mistake growing out the the Bureau of Reclamation’s Basin Study. It is made by seizing on the study’s finding regarding the impact of climate change (as exemplified by the results of General Circulation Models, or GCM’s) on the river, quoted here from the executive summary (pdf), …

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Boxall on the modesty of California’s approach to groundwater regulation

Bettina Boxall: California is finally about to join the rest of the West in regulating groundwater supplies. But the package of bills awaiting Gov. Jerry Brown’s signature is not an instant fix for the state’s shrinking, over-pumped aquifers. It could be decades, experts say, before the most depleted groundwater basins recover under the legislation, which …

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Compromise on the Colorado

Assistant Secretary of the Interior Anne Castle, speaking late last month in Las Vegas: With the crucial Lake Mead reservoir at 38 percent capacity and the Southwest in the grip of the driest 15-year period in more than a century, Castle said it will take multiple, incremental agreements to balance the water rights of cities, …

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Tim Quinn on California groundwater regulation

Tim Quinn of the Association of California Water Agencies (“big water” in Calif.) frames the state’s groundwater regulation legislation thus: We recognize there are many serious concerns about the groundwater legislation in the Central Valley, where many drought-weary water managers feel hammered by surface water cutbacks and worry that the door is now open to …

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For regulating California groundwater, this is only the beginning

California’s newly passed groundwater management legislation has rightly been called “the most significant set of water reforms to pass the Legislature since at least the Burns-Porter Act in 1960 that authorized the State Water Project”. In a state where overpumping is epidemic, regulation is incredibly important, as Jay Lund and Thomas Harter recently explained: Sustaining …

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