“sad havoc” – what happens when you build a city in a flood plain

This remarkable image by Roberto Rosales, my former Albuquerque Journal colleague now taking pictures for City Desk ABQ, captures a sharp reality of Albuquerque. We built our city in a flood plain, and in particular downtown beginning in the 1880s in a low area that was part Rio Grande flood path, and part swamp. That …

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Texas v. New Mexico ruling creates interesting questions for Arizona v. Colorado on the Colorado River

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision Friday in a lawsuit between Texas and New Mexico over Rio Grande water reframes discussions in Colorado River Basin, where the threat of a similar Supreme Court action looms. Texas and New Mexico schemed a water-sharing agreement to settle the thing, but the Department of Interior intervened to say “Nope” …

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Gila River Indian Community proposal for post-2026 Colorado River Management

Given the apparently unproductive state-to-state negotiations over post-2026 management of the Colorado River, it’s worth examining, in our search for a path forward, some of the other proposals submitted to the Department of the Interior. (If you need some bedtime reading….) One of the most interesting comes from the Gila River Indian Community. (Their March …

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Lowest flows ever recorded on New Mexico’s Gila River

  Update 6/17/2022: Update: Based on a conversation with a friend familiar with the plumbing in and around the Gila gage, caution is in order pending a USGS recalibration, which we’re hoping for soon. Measuring flows this low is hard! Thanks to a question from alert Inkstain reader S, I see that flows on the …

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Water Flowing, Again, in the Colorado River Delta

Forgotten in all of the noise around the Colorado River right now is this moment of hope – water again flowing in the Colorado River Delta. Under the 2017 agreement between the United States and Mexico known as Minute 323, we have 210,000 acre feet of water set aside for environmental flows through 2026 – …

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Kuhn-Tara-Fleck on what comes next – the foundations of the Law of the Colorado River, shaky heading into the post-2026 world

ALAMOSA, COLORADO – Meandering toward Boulder for this week’s Getches-Wilkinson Center Colorado River conference, I stopped this evening in Alamosa, Colorado, in the San Luis Valley. I love the drive up the back way, through the San Luis Valley and into the heart of the Rockies, and I split it up into a couple of …

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Horse Trading in the negotiation of the 1948 Upper Colorado River Basin Compact (and its implications today)

There was deep tension in Cheyenne, Wyoming, in September 1947 as the negotiators for the Upper Colorado River Basin states gathered to try to hammer out a deal to divvy up their share of the Colorado’s water. The 1922 Compact had split the river in two at Lee Ferry, and left for later the question …

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New Mexico 2024 End of May Reservoir Storage

With the snow mostly melted, it’s time for a fresh look at the water storage situation on New Mexico’s Rio Grande – water saved from the spring runoff this year, and carried over from previous years, to use for irrigation, municipal use, and environmental flows during the summer. Total reservoir storage got a bump up …

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End of Season Wrap-Up – Holding on to What We’ve Got

A guest post by Jack Schmidt, director of the Center for Colorado River Studies at Utah State University By Jack Schmidt | May 22, 2024 Opportunities to rebuild basin-wide reservoir storage have been rare in the 21st century. On April 3 2024, the snow accumulation season in the Colorado River watershed ended and the snow …

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