This blog serves in part as a sketchbook for my ongoing research for a book on the Colorado River. Over the years I’ve written many a post that I end up Googling later as reference material. This page is my attempt to gather those key posts into a single spot – so they’re easier for me to find, and with the hope that having the basic background material in one place might be of use to others as well.
- Simon Rifkind’s great mistake: The faulty math embedded in the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1963 decision in the case of Arizona v. California, which lies at the heart of today’s Colorado River over-allocation problem.
- Why is Lake Mead dropping? From 2010, an early explanation of what has come to be publicly described as the “Lower Basin structural deficit”. Because of Rifkind’s mistake (see above), if the Upper Basin makes its legally required delivery of 8.23 million acre feet per year at Lee Ferry, the combination of Lower Basin water use, evaporation and deliveries to Mexico mean Lake Mead just keeps dropping.
- Colorado River System Conservation Program: Launched in 2014, the System Conservation Program is a modest effort to engage in water conservation around the basin to prop up the rapidly declining levels of Lake Powell and Lake mead.
- We’ve already given enough: Each Colorado River Basin state has a reasonable argument for why it’s already sacrificed enough. Taken together, though, if each state digs in its heels, there’s not enough water to go around.
- Minute 319: Background on the spring 2014 environmental pulse flow in the Colorado River Delta, and the “institutional plumbing” that made it possible.
- 1,075 – what “shortage” means on the Lower Colorado River
- DCP – Who takes how much shortages, and when? A table summarizing the 2007 shortage sharing guidelines and the Drought Contingency Plan
I’ve also begun assembling a public collection of documents I’m using in my research: