River Beat: Drop 2 From Space

Drop 2 From Space

Drop 2 From Space

One of the strangest western water projects of recent years is the Drop 2 Reservoir on the All-American Canal.

Here’s the problem. Irrigators in southeastern California, mostly in the Imperial Valley, get their water from the Colorado River. It sits in storage behind Lake Mead, and when they need it, they put in a request for a release from the Bureau of Reclamation, which releases it on schedule a couple of days ahead of when it’s needed. If it rains between the time it’s released and the time they’re scheduled to use it, they won’t need it. In the olden days, it would flow on down for use in Mexico or on out to the delta – wasted, in the view of the water managers.

Drop 2 allows the water to be captured and stored for later use. So it won’t be “wasted.” The Lower Basin states shared the cost in return for shares of the water saved.

Which is a long way of introducing this very cool NASA satellite photo of the Algodones Dunes, the major landscape feature that defines the southern edge of the Salton Sink and is a far prettier part of the NASA satellite picture you see (click through for bigness). Unless you’re a water nerd, in which case Drop 2 is the star. It’s the little bluish square on the bottom left.

Its new name is the Warren H. Brock Reservoir, after an Imperial Valley luminary. But I will forever want to call it “Drop 2.”

Background on Drop 2 from Shaun McKinnon, the Arizona Republic’s excellent water guy.