On that giant watershed

Now that I’ve got this “largest artificial watershed in the world” hammer, everything’s beginning to look like a nail.

The “hammer” involves the notion that the vast artificial plumbing system we’ve built across the west has linked our water management fates in a way that did not exist when water tended to spend its human- and ecosystem-useful life in the watershed in which it first fell from the sky.

The latest nail is this William Roller story in the Imperial Valley Press on the reaction to the announcement that California’s drought is over. Imperial Valley depends not a bit on the Sierra Nevada snowpack, which is the subject of the most recent drought announcement. IID’s water comes entirely from the distant Rockies, and is so buffered by massive storage and legal entitlement that the concept of climatological, hydrological drought is largely irrelevant to Imperial Valley farmers. And yet…

The declared end of the state’s drought emergency is welcomed by the Imperial Irrigation District so that other agencies will not look to IID to fill the gap, says an official.

IID, with its huge Colorado River allocation, is a tempting target, the biggest potential “source” of water in the system. Drought in one place can cascade through the system in interesting ways.


  1. well, yeah. Of course. This is why MWD built Diamond Valley and why Stuart Resnick built the Kern Water Bank. The MWD service area is at the end of two very long straws (three, if you count the CVP). If there’s water in one glass, you don’t need to suck so much on the other straw.

  2. @Francis Stuart Resnick did not build the Kern Water Bank, he was instrumental in swindling it from the people of California.

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