Tracking flows on New Mexico’s Middle Rio Grande as irrigation season begins

It’s hard to tell this morning what yesterday’s howling dry winds did to our snowpack. It’s the sort of thing that can cause sublimation, which means the loss of snow straight to atmospheric drying without ever having a chance to melt and make it to the rivers. It looks like some snow may have fallen …

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Watching the water spread across the Middle Rio Grande Valley Floor

I feel this morning a bit like a kid watching the NORAD map of Santa on his global travels, as I hit “reload” on the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District’s new gaging data page. The district opened the diversion gates early this morning at Cochiti Dam, at the head of what we call New Mexico’s …

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Ignoring an Inconvenient Colorado River Basin Risk

By John Fleck It is agonizing to watch this, but here we are. With efforts by the Colorado River Basin states to craft an agreement to share the river’s water skidding, brakes screeching, toward a cliff, we appear on the brink of repeating the disastrous mistake the authors of the Colorado River Compact made a …

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Opening the gates on the 2024 irrigation season in New Mexico’s Middle Rio Grande Valley

The Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District’s crews will usher the first water into the ditches of New Mexico’s middle valley Feb. 26, district Water Distribution Division Manager Matt Martinez told the district’s board at yesterday afternoon’s meeting. The early water doesn’t go to irrigators right away. It’s needed to “charge” the system, wetting earthen ditches …

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No Change in Reservoir Storage … and That’s Good News

By Jack Schmidt | February 12, 2024 (cross-posted from the Center for Colorado River Studies) Nothing really changed in Colorado River Basin reservoir storage during January 2024. That is really good news as the basin prepares for the upcoming irrigation season. 1. Total basin water storage did not significantly change during January 2024 (Fig. 1, …

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A dry forecast for the Colorado River Basin. A note on policy implications.

The UC Merced Evaporative Demand Drought Index (EDDI) points to drying over the Colorado River Basin over the next four weeks. EDDI is a new experimental tool that offers potential for tracking quickly emerging drought conditions by analyzing the evaporative demand of the atmosphere. It combines how moist things are with how hot and dry …

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In Colorado’s San Luis Valley, paying for the water they use

Folks in Colorado’s San Luis Valley are engaged in a bold experiment in western water management – charging farmers for the water they use. Jerd Smith explains: A new rule approved by the area’s largest irrigation district, known as Subdistrict 1, and the Alamosa-based Rio Grande Water Conservation District, sets fees charged to pump water …

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Senate hearing next week on Tribal access to clean water: it takes more than just a pile of money

The U.S. Senate Indian Affairs Committee is holding an important hearing Thursday on S. 2385, a bill to refine the tools needed to help Tribal communities gain access to something that most non-Indian communities in the western United States have long taken for granted: federally subsidized systems to deliver safe, clean drinking water to our …

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