But do we actually need more water?

If I’m to make any useful contribution in these waning years of my career as a professional water wonk, it is trying to make this point: John Fleck, director of the Water Resources Program at the University of New Mexico, said there is no clear need for the water – not now or in the foreseeable future. “Growth …

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Palo Verde Irrigation District sues Metropolitan Water District over Colorado River water

One of California’s largest Colorado River farm water districts is suing the state’s largest municipal water agency, charging that efforts to move farm water to cities are threatening the viability of agriculture in one of the oldest farming valleys on the river. The Palo Verde Irrigation District, in a suit filed last month in Riverside …

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Was prior appropriation really about distributive justice?

From Jill Robbie at the University of Glasgow, a nice explanation of David Schorr’s revisionist account of the evolution of the “doctrine of prior appropriation” in western water law: For some law and economics scholars, the evolution of the prior appropriation doctrine is explained due to the high value of water in the dry climate …

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Some notes on New Mexico’s improving water situation

Three interesting visuals for a Friday morning to help illustrate New Mexico’s improving water situation, with caveats. One For this first time since the federal Drought Monitor began operations in January 2000, New Mexico is completely free of drought or unusually dry conditions. Our map is clear: This is excellent news, as Olivier Uyttebrouck noted …

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On the Colorado, the lowest water use in 25 years

Yes, a good snowpack helped us this year in the Colorado River. But the numbers are clear – reductions in water use made a far larger contribution to the good news on the river this year. This week’s official Bureau of Reclamation declaration that we won’t have a 2018 Colorado River shortage got a lot …

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Collaboration to deal with thorny dairy water and waste problems

From Sandra Postel and National Geographic’s Freshwater Initiative, the story of a collaboration among a dairy farmer, an irrigation tech company, and an environmental group to improve water efficiency in growing dairy forage crops and reduce the impact of dairy waste: A 2015 pilot of the system on a 40-acre (16.2-hectare) field of silage corn …

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That time we built a dam in Glen Canyon

Lauren Steely, late of the Bren School, did a neat analysis a few days ago to help visualize Oroville Dam inflow data. She’s using R’s joyplot tool, which is all the rage these days as a new day to line up and visualize variability in datasets that have repeating patterns. Like, for example, the annual hydrograph on …

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