The hydrograph of the All-American Canal

With little water storage to speak of in the Imperial Valley, the flow of the All-American Canal west from Imperial Dam integrates, in close to real time, the collective decisions of a thousand farmers growing crops on half a million acres. A “hydrograph” is a commonly used tool for looking at the flow of water …

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New USBR modeling shows substantial reduction in Mead, Powell risk over the next five years

The unusually wet winter (with an assist from new Colorado River Drought Contingency Plan water reduction rules) has substantially reduced the near-term scare-the-crap-out-of-me risks on the Colorado River for the next few years, according to new Bureau of Reclamation modeling. Modeling done in January showed significant risk – a nearly one in three chance – …

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Delph Carpenter’s Preferred Compact

By Eric Kuhn Colorado attorney Delph Carpenter (1877-1951) is given credit as the driving force behind the 1922 Colorado River Compact, a much-deserved accolade. Had the compact negotiators actually listened to him, however, both basins would be better off today. Before the compact negotiators settled on the deal we are now trying to live with, …

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You can’t address the Colorado River Basin’s problems without addressing the Salton Sea

RED HILL BAY – I couldn’t resist the “abandoned boat ramp” trope when I visited the Salton Sea this week. No amount of channel dredging is going to get you to the Sea at this point. And all that recently exposed shoreline between the old boat ramp where I was standing when I took the …

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The untimely death and life of the Colorado River

YUMA – I brought a bicycle this week on a road trip to the Lower Colorado River, and left myself the morning today to ride out to Morelos Dam. After a quick morning of meetings yesterday in Tucson with the University of Arizona Press folks turning our words into a book, I drove on to …

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Powell forecast up a million acre feet

The Bureau of Reclamation’s monthly storage model runs, based on the latest Colorado River Basin runoff forecasts, show Lake Powell ending the water year (Sept. 30) at 13.8 million acre feet. That’s an increase of more than a million feet over the May estimate, and 2.8 million acre feet above the Sept. 30, 2018 number: …

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Is there a “Grand Bargain” to be had in the Colorado River Basin?

By Eric Kuhn and John Fleck With the Colorado River’s “Drought Contingency Plans” now completed, basin water managers are turning to the question of what happens next. That question, as we see it, is: Is there a chance at a “grand bargain” that addresses the unresolved questions head on? Or can the problems continue to …

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Final Lower Colorado River accounting for 2018

The 2018 Lower Basin accounting report is out, and if you’re interested in understanding what’s happening on the Colorado River, it’s a gold mine. Did you know, for example, that California’s annual Colorado River water use is down 21 percent from its peak in 2002? Or that the Gila Monster Farms on the Arizona side …

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