Upper Colorado River Commission ending participation in the System Conservation Pilot Program

The Upper Colorado River Commission, at its meeting this afternoon (Wed. June 20, 2018) in Santa Fe, voted to end its participation in the Colorado River System Conservation Pilot Program, in which water users, mostly farmers, were compensated for conservation measures in an effort to create “system water”. “System water” is a tricky concept, and …

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“We’re in uncharted territory”

Luke Runyon had a piece over the weekend about the latest Bureau of Reclamation 24-month study, the increasingly bleak monthly modeling run that shows Colorado River reservoir levels dipping and diving in a way that the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California’s Jeff Kightlinger described thus: “We’re in uncharted territory for the system,” says Jeff …

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Good news, or at least news that’s less bad, on the Gila

The U.S. Geological Survey took new measurements last week to calibrate the key gauge on the Gila River in New Mexico, and the rating curve has now been adjusted upward. The good news is that 2018 is no longer a record low year. Thursday’s revised flow of 14 cubic feet per second was still the …

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Amy Haas to replace retiring Don Ostler as Executive Director of the Upper Colorado River Commission

Amy Haas, deputy director and general counsel of the Upper Colorado River Commission, will replace the retiring Don Ostler as the UCRC’s executive director July 1. Amy, formerly general counsel of the New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission, has been with the commission since last year, and has a long history of working within the interstate …

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At Glenwood Springs, the fourth driest Colorado River flows in a half century

A typical John Fleck morning these days involves a cup of coffee (or two) and a curlup in the comfy chair as dawn creeps over my backyard while I wander the western United States looking at USGS stream gauges. Today’s gauge-of-the-day is my friend and colleague Eric Kuhn’s, at Glenwood Springs, Colorado. It’s just downstream …

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Circa 1983, an early view of climate change and western water

From New York Times reporter Philip Shabecoff’s October 1983 piece examining some of the more significant findings in a new National Academies report on the implications of climate change: Paul E. Waggoner, a member of the assessment committee, said in an interview that ”people in California will be drinking their water,” instead of using it …

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Central New Mexico water agency cutting back some of its irrigators

Reservoir levels dropped over the weekend past a critical trigger point, causing the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District to curtail water deliveries this week to about 5,000 acres of farmland in central New Mexico. With El Vado Reservoir on the Rio Chama just 26 percent full, the decision to cut deliveries to the MRGCD’s “water …

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Drought, climate change – we know more than we used to

Ben Cook, Justin Mankis, and Kevin Anchukaitis have an extremely helpful review paper in Current Climate Change Reports (ungated, thanks) sorting out what we do and don’t know about the impact of climate change on droughts. The IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report was cautious in its assessment of our knowledge of drought, reporting only “low confidence” …

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Golf

According to the USGS, there are 1,300 acres of golf course in Bernalillo County (Albuquerque etc.), using 6,100 acre feet per year of water. Which makes the water policy implications of this this Nolan Gray story fascinating: Golf is dying, many experts say. According to one study by the golf industry group Pellucid Corp., the …

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