Gordon Jacoby and the Colorado River: “predicting hydrologic bankruptcy”

In my world, the 1976 tree ring analysis of the Colorado River’s long term flow done by Charles Stockton and Gordon Jacoby stands as one of the great works of policy-relevant science. But by the time I came on the scene, “Stockton and Jacoby”* (pdf) was just a marker, a signpost along our path to …

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Stuff I wrote elsewhere: on public discussion in water politics, Gila edition.

From the morning paper, a column about the importance of putting all the data on the table for a public discussion as we try to make collective decisions about our water future. (This is about the Gila River in New Mexico). The argument here is technical, and I don’t expect you to be able to …

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Does affluence make you more resilient to drought?

My quick, poorly thought out answer to the question in the post title would have been “yes”, but OtPR once again has pointed out the error in my thinking. The wealthiest California farmers, OtPR argues, have locked themselves into high value but permanent crops (especially almonds) that leave them less flexibility to respond to climate …

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In Arizona, talk of water supply augmentation

There’s a long and important history behind Arizona’s enthusiasm for water supply augmentation. The short arm-wave version is Arizona’s belief that part of the Central Arizona Project’s grand bargain was that the Superhot State would accept a junior priority for its CAP water in return for a commitment to water supply augmentation at some unspecified …

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Some day this drought’s gonna end….

Jim Carlton, in the Wall Street Journal last week (behind paywall, sorry*) does something I wish there was more of – looking at what happens when drought ends. In particular, a visit to Wyoming, where it was dry for a spell, then got wet: “You can get out of drought if everything goes right, and …

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Contingency planning in the Upper Colorado River Basin

Water managers in the Upper Colorado River Basin are beginning to roll out details of their contingency planning aimed at preventing Lake Powell from dropping to troublingly low levels. Among the key steps being discussed, according to a presentation Monday by New Mexico’s Kevin Flanagan to his state’s Interstate Stream Commission (more over on my …

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Alfalfa, a California drought survivor?

Alfalfa, the crop with the largest acreage in California, could well emerge as a survivor in the state hard hit by drought. “This plant is a tough plant,” said Dan Putnam, alfalfa and forage specialist with the University of California at Davis. He believes the deeply-rooted plant “will likely survive once the plant is rehydrated,” …

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