Arizona misters and the value of water

When we think today about Arizona’s water problems, we imagine large lawns in sprawling suburbs in and around Phoenix, golf courses, and “misters”—those devices that fritter away water into the hot desert air to cool the customers eating at outdoor restaurants in the Valley of the Sun. Me, in Water is For Fighting Over Lissa …

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governance, adaptation, and climate change

Much of the “cultural cognition” problem around our climate politics and discourse derives from the politics of “mitigation” – the fact that the tools needed to reduce greenhouse gases are politically (culturally?) abhorrent to some, who in response dismiss the underlying science of climate change. This has the effect of foreclosing the second crucial climate …

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New Mexico’s dysfunctional water rights administration

The Albuquerque Journal’s Mark Oswald notes a remarkable milestone that passed today: SANTA FE — A water-rights lawsuit that is said to be the nation’s longest-running piece of litigation reached a crucial milestone here Friday, with a judge’s final decree that added only five pages to the thousands upon thousands generated since the proceedings known …

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birds and water in a changing West

Audubon has an excellent new report on risks to birds, and all that go with them, along the rivers and arid landscape lakes across western North America. Lots there, but I think this bit is especially important: Without reform, today’s water management framework could lead to severe water shortages to large numbers of people and …

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water (or lack thereof) in Indian Country

Native American lands have some of the poorest water infrastructure in the country: 13 percent of homes on reservations lack access to clean water or sanitation, a significant number compared to 0.6 percent for non-Native Americans. On the Navajo Nation, home to 250,000 people, 40 percent of people lack access to running water and depend …

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Salton Sea fish, birds, in jeopardy even with more mitigation water

One suggested short term tool to deal with the shrinking Salton Sea is to continue putting in more water. New research suggests that, for fish and birds, it won’t help. “Mitigation water” is jargon for extra water currently diverted to the Salton Sea to make up for reduced agricultural runoff as efficiency improvements. (It’s hairy …

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Brad Udall’s western water climate change bibliography

Speaking earlier this month at the University of Colorado’s Martz Conference, Brad Udall offered what amounted to a bibliography, both helpful and deeply unnerving, of recent scientific literature documenting what we have learned in recent years about climate change and water in the Western United States, and what it tells us about our future prospects. …

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on the Colorado River in Kremmling, a case study in coupled human and natural systems

One of the main focuses of the class I help teach in the fall, “Contemporary Issues in Water Management“, is the nature and function of “coupled human and natural systems”. (In fact, might say it’s the main focus of the entire UNM Water Resources Program, come to think of it.) One of the biggest difficulties …

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