To fix Oroville, they shut down a river. Then built a road.

This Bee aerial video of the work on the Feather River to try to cope with the problems at Oroville Dam is an amazing illustration of the scale of human intervention in rivers: Click through for the full video, no one screen grab can do it justice. They’ve completely shut down the spillway so they …

Continue reading ‘To fix Oroville, they shut down a river. Then built a road.’ »

A nice storage bump for Colorado River reservoirs, but they’re still pretty empty

Talking this week to members of the Colorado River water governance brain trust at the Family Farm Alliance‘s annual gathering in Las Vegas, there was a weird vibe about the big snowpack building in the Rockies. My quick take based on the February USBR modeling plus the latest forecast info from the CBRFC Lake Powell …

Continue reading ‘A nice storage bump for Colorado River reservoirs, but they’re still pretty empty’ »

Henry Mancini and the fountain at the Bellagio Hotel

Some years ago, on one of my first reporting trips to Las Vegas for my book, a friend who introduced me to the fountain in front of the Bellagio Hotel suggested a bit of economics that lingered. He pointed up to the big hotel and ventured a guess at the revenue flowing through it – …

Continue reading ‘Henry Mancini and the fountain at the Bellagio Hotel’ »

From Reno, a data point illustrating how epically wet the winter of 2016-17 has been in the West

This is “water year” precipitation in Reno, Nevada, from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30. The brown line is an average years’ accumulation. The pinky-purple line is 1982-83, the all time wettest year on record, going back to the 1890s. The green line is this year. Folks, 2017 has already eclipsed Reno’s wettest year on record …

Continue reading ‘From Reno, a data point illustrating how epically wet the winter of 2016-17 has been in the West’ »

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 …

Continue reading ‘the real risks on the Colorado River – a lack of appropriate rules’ »

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 …

Continue reading ‘Climate change is already sapping the Colorado River’ »

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 …

Continue reading ‘in Mosul, city residents digging for their own groundwater’ »

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 …

Continue reading ‘No, this water litigation is not “war”’ »