When wastewater isn’t being “wasted”, Pasadena edition

Pasadena, California, wants to use treated effluent to water golf courses. This is a water policy no-brainer, right? Well…. “As part of preparations to commence deliveries of recycled water to Pasadena, the city of Glendale petitioned the State Water Resources Control Board to seek their approval for a reduction in the amount of treated wastewater …

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California’s private utilities out-conserved its public utilities during the drought

If you had asked me to guess whether public or private utilities did better at water conservation, I would have without hesitation guessed that public utilities did better. So here’s a fascinating result from Manny Teodoro and Youlang Zhang of Texas A&M, looking at data from the recent California drought: [O]n average, communities served by private utilities …

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Fish returning to the Fraser in one of Colorado’s high mountain valleys

An example of what can happen when folks stop fighting over water and search for common ground paths: Now, instead of a wide shallow creek, the low-flow Fraser River drops into a narrow channel that allows to run deeper, faster and colder. That led to a nearly immediate rebound in the fish population, according to …

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It takes more than one year to dig out of California’s water hole

California has seen excellent groundwater recovery in the last year, according to a report last week from the California Department of Water Resources: But it’ll take more than a year to dig out of the hole left by the massive groundwater pumping of the last 6 years: From the report: While images of filling reservoirs …

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Looking for flexibility within Arizona

Arizona’s current internal political struggles over allocation and management of shortage on the Colorado River illustrate a central dilemma in the basin’s transition from the era of managing development of the river’s water to the era of managing scarcity. While we generally have demonstrated the ability to use less water across a range of water …

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The resilience of the U.S.-Mexico Colorado River relationship

In a recent paper in Water International, Jacob Petersen-Perlman and colleagues identified one of the central features scholars have found in their study of international water agreements: Once institutional capacity is established between parties it has been proven to be resilient over time, even as conflict was being waged over other issues. Sitting in an …

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Creeping forward on the Colorado River

“The network”, as I call the Colorado River governance structure in my book, is gathering this week in Santa Fe, New Mexico, to among other things celebrate the signing of a new agreement extending the agreement between the United States and Mexico over water sharing and allocation on the Colorado River. Two years ago at …

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Preliminary year-end data suggest New Mexico will meet its Rio Grande Compact obligations this year

Preliminary year-end modeling suggests New Mexico is in good shape to meet its obligations to deliver water to Texas under the Rio Grande Compact in 2018, according to data presented Thursday by the New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission to the executive committee of the Middle Rio Grande Endangered Species Collaborative Program. In a counter-intuitive twist, …

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Westlands California water tunnels “no” could be “fatal blow”

This is a big deal: Citing concerns about costs to individual farmers, Westlands Water District’s board of directors voted 7-1 against participating in the project, known officially as California WaterFix. Westlands is the first major water agency to vote on the project, and other big districts are expected to make their decisions in the coming …

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disaggregating agriculture

One of the great insights from my University of New Mexico colleague Bob Berrens, chair of the economics department and my predecessor as director of UNM’s Water Resources Program, is the importance of disaggregating agriculture. Much water policy discussion, rightly, revolves around the agriculture-municipal distinction. With ag getting (and needing) a much larger share of …

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