In the years I’ve been working on Colorado River stuff, I’ve collected a lot of data. Most of this is stuff the river managers at the Bureau of Reclamation have generously shared with me. Some I’ve assembled myself by transcribing old paper/pdf records of historic documents. Some of the Bureau’s most important data is already easily publicly available (most notably the Natural Flow Database, Lake Mead elevation, Upper Basin reservoir elevation and storage histories, and the 24-month studies). But over the years, the accumulation on my hard drive(s) has turned into a useful personal resource for my research and writing if I wanna look up, say, what the trends are in water use in Yuma or some such.
I’ve been meaning for a while to find a way to make what I’ve got more accessible. So I’ve started uploading data to Github. First up is the data for the graph above, for which I get a lot of requests. It’s total end-of-water-year storage in Lake Mead and Lake Powell, stitched together in a more easily usable form from a couple of different USBR datasets. I update my personal copy sorta monthly with the Bureau’s forecasts and make scary graphs to post on Twitter. (Scary Lake Mead graphs make great clickbait.) The stuff on Github is just actual year end numbers.
Two motivations: I’m teaching a Colorado River-related course this spring at the University of New Mexico Water Resources Program – we’ll need data! And as Eric Kuhn and I finish up the new book, we’re starting to think about how to make the key data and documents used in the book easily available. Not sure this is the platform, but this’ll give me an experimental toy to think about how to do it.