Big flows on central New Mexico Rio Grande as feds move water

We’re entering the end-of-year water accounting phase of the Rio Grande hydrograph in central New Mexico, with big flows coming out of the Rio Chama, the largest tributary in this stretch of our “big” river. As I’ve written before, relatively higher December flows are a weird artifact of water management rules, which do accounting on …

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On the ecosystem benefits of irrigation systems

One of the conceptual riddles Bob Berrens and I are working through in the new book we’re pursuing on New Mexico’s Middle Rio Grande, and the work surrounding it, is the ecosystem goods and services across our valley floor provided by the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District’s web of irrigation ditches. Where once we had …

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How do we use water in Albuquerque?

I’ve been spending an inordinate amount of time the last few weeks pointing and clicking on the new OpenET project’s “data explorer”. Using satellite data and magical algorithms, OpenET allows me to look at an arbitrary bit of land and retrieve an estimate of the amount of “evapotranspiration” – essentially outdoor water use – for …

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New Mexico state engineer John D’Antonio stepping down, cites lack of state support for agency

Per Dan McKay and Theresa Davis at the Albuquerque Journal, New Mexico State Engineer John D’Antonio is stepping down. In doing so, he was sharply critical of New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s decision to not ask the New Mexico legislature for increased funding for his depleted department despite booming state revenue: [H]e cited a …

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Dry in all my river basins

Getting ready for class class discussion this afternoon about “drought” (“I get to see my students in person!” he exclaimed nervously.), I had occasion to check the latest Climate Prediction Center long lead forecast. It’s a few weeks old, but I don’t expect it’ll have changed much. The brownest blob captures both river basins I …

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On the importance of gathering stones

I had the joy of sharing a goofy group text thread yesterday evening with a couple of friends exchanging pictures of the round rocks we each collected yesterday morning on a field trip to see the plumbing of the San Juan-Chama Project, which diverts Colorado River Basin water beneath the continental divide to bring drinking …

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