Important update on the Bureau of Reclamation’s Boulder City lawn

In my book Water is for Fighting Over, I delighted in this cheap shot at the Bureau of Reclamation’s Boulder City office – … a grandiose white building atop a hill … surrounded by an expanse of lawn that is embarrassing in a desert city that averages less than six inches of rain a year. …

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Tensions around a wastewater reclamation collaboration in Southern California

There’s some fascinating tension around a proposed wastewater reclamation collaboration in Southern California. The project, if it goes forward, would provide some 150 million gallons per day (~170,000 acre feet per year) of treated effluent. Water now being discharged into the ocean would instead be available for aquifer recharge within Southern California. There are a …

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declining Lower Colorado River Basin water use

Amid the Colorado River water management attention last week rightly focused on the fact that a wet winter in the Upper Basin means a big release this year from Lake Powell to help refill Lake Mead, I missed another bit of business that may be even more important. The Bureau of Reclamation’s planning model is …

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Does Las Vegas have the most reliable water supply in the Colorado River Basin?

David Owen makes an interesting point in this New Yorker piece: Just as proximity makes people think that Las Vegas is the principal cause of the decline of Lake Mead, it also makes them think that any further decline in the lake will be a problem mainly, or even only, for Las Vegas. But that …

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The unexpected history of Las Vegas and Hoover Dam

Folks in Nevada today are celebrating the 80th anniversary of Hoover Dam’s sort-of-semi-official power production. Hoover Dam is such a dominant feature on the history of the west in the 20th century that it’s fun to contemplate what people thought about it before it happened. One of my fascinating side trips when I was researching …

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Resilience, and pulling the cap on the new Las Vegas Lake Mead intake

Southern Nevada Water Authority crews pulled the end cap off of the agency’s new, deeper Lake Mead intake today, and by this weekend they’ll be pumping water from the new system. This is a major milestone in a system that, when completed, provides critical water management breathing room for the entire Colorado River Basin. Theorists of …

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