Is Colorado River water responsible for 15 percent of U.S. crops?

I’ve seen this more than once: Fifteen percent of all U.S. crops are grown with irrigation water that originates in the Colorado River Basin. That’s from an Alternet piece, and it’s a number I’ve seen repeated many times (see here, here, here for just a few of the many examples). I am skeptical. I’ve been unable …

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California’s Bay-Delta and the Endangered Species Act

Ellen Hanak and colleagues at the Public Policy Institute of California stuck their necks out last week with a scheme to move California’s Bay-Delta water conflict forward. It has a number of elements – I’d like to focus here on its proposal to “manage water for ecosystems, not just endangered species”: To improve the effectiveness …

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Could funding for US water plants and pipes be a bipartisan common ground?

Andrea Gerlak: Reinvesting in our crumbling, neglected drinking water and wastewater systems is something that both Democrats and Republicans can agree on – and they are likely to find support in the new White House. The time is ripe for coalition building, collaborative problem-solving and a bit of old-fashioned American ingenuity to ensure that our reinvestment in …

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On the importance of getting the boundaries right in water management and governance

I’m working this weekend on two talks, one a webinar Wednesday with Audubon and the other a lecture for UNM Water Resources grad students Thursday, that both touch on one of the fundamental challenges in getting water management right – the question of how we draw the boundaries, both geographically but also conceptually – around …

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Ban Ki-moon: water should be source of collaboration, not conflict

Water resources ‘a reason for cooperation, not conflict,’ Ban tells Security Council Noting that three quarters of UN Member States share rivers or lake basins with their neighbours, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today highlighted the value of water resources as a reason for cooperation, not conflict. “The need for coordination in water management is …

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A return to flood irrigation in search of environmental benefits

I’ve praised the successful shift from flood irrigation toward more efficient technology – meaning things like center-pivot and drip over flood irrigation – that has enabled a downward trend in the amount of water applied to a typical irrigated acre of farmland in the United States. According to the USGS, US farmers decreased their average …

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talking water cooperation this morning on Colorado Public Radio

I’ll be on Colorado Public Radio this morning (Mon. 11/21/16) sometime around 10:30 a.m. mountain time, talking about the importance of water conservation and collaboration. CPR’s Rachel Estabrook, who spent some time talking with me last week about my book, did a nice writeup ahead of the interview: To avoid federally mandated cutbacks, Arizona, Nevada …

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federal dam operations in a Trump administration

A new paper on federal dam operations by my University of New Mexico colleague Reed Benson seems suddenly timely. It’s an exhaustive review of the legal structures surrounding Bureau of Reclamation and Corps of Engineers dam operations, with an eye toward finding a path to more flexibility in response to changing climate, human values, and …

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