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At this point, a voluntary “2 to 4 million acre feet of additional conservation” Colorado River deal by Aug. 16 seems out of reach

Janet Wilson had a helpful story yesterday in the Desert Sun about California’s negotiations over its piece of the looming Colorado River cutbacks. Its bottom line is that California – the state with the largest Colorado River allocation – is talking about kicking in 500,000 acre feet of water. Or maybe it’s really just 400,000 acre feet of water –...

Tribal sovereigns complain of being left out of Colorado River negotiations

In a July 22 letter, the leaders of 14 Colorado River Basin Tribal governments complained to the U.S. Department of Interior about being left out – again – of the current negotiations around short terms Colorado River cutbacks:   View note Click through to see the full letter.

“NPS warns visitors: Don’t search for corpses in Lake Mead’

Duly noted Sadly for most of you, this story is behind Politico/E&E paywall.

“Drouth had no terrors here.”

In drought, we pump groundwater. Albuquerque’s Rio Grande Valley, summer 2021 I dropped off the Santa Fe Overland at Albuquerque about a year ago during the drouth that prevailed over the southwest at that time. The range was as dry and hard as a table. Rivers and streams had dried up. Cattle were dying and the country seemed utterly desolate. Imagine...

Does the Upper Colorado River Basin Routinely Take Shortages in Dry Years?

By John Fleck, Eric Kuhn, and Jack Schmidt As stakeholders negotiate the current crisis on the Colorado River, we believe the representatives of the states of the Upper Basin – our states – are making a dangerous argument. Their premise is simple. With deep cutbacks needed, the Upper Basin states argue that their part of the watershed already routinely...

For the first time in four decades, the Rio Grande through Albuquerque is dry

A drying Rio Grande in Albuquerque’s South Valley. July 22, 2022, photo by John Fleck For the first time in ~40 years (? – see below) New Mexico’s Rio Grande has “broken” – is no longer flowing – in what we call “the Albuquerque reach”. The river dries not with a bang, but with a muddy whimper and the dawn serenade of awakening birds. Science watches...

The poets down here don’t write nothin’ at all, they just stand back and let it all be.

Colorado has no plans to make additional cuts to water use next year to meet the Bureau of Reclamation’s demand to conserve millions of acre-feet of water, a step needed to preserve power production in Lake Powell and Lake Mead. Instead, Colorado officials insist that other states should do the cutting. “I think that at this point, we stand ready...

“a veritable garden spot”

Albuquerque’s “Barr Irrigation District”, circa July 2022 Barr Irrigation District The home of the ill-fated “Barr Irrigation District” is not one of Albuquerque’s scenic destinations. Perched on low sand hills between Albuquerque’s soft industrial underbelly and the city’s “Sunport” (our marketing appellation for what a lesser metropolis might call...

Verdant

Rio Grande at Albuquerque, June 20, 2022 Where peaceful Rivers soft and slow Amid the verdant Landskip flow. – Addison My friend Mary Harner, who loves and thinks about rivers more/better than anyone I know, is in town. We found time this morning for a walk along our shared passion, the Rio Grande. After 78 days without rain, the monsoon bloomed...

With Eric Kuhn’s help, I found a (nearly) full Colorado River Basin reservoir!

Dillon Reservoir, June 15, 2022 When Eric and I converge on a meeting, there’s always the “Are you gonna bring a bike?” conversation. This week it’s the Getches-Wilkinson Center’s Annual Colorado River conference, and the bike ride was a loop around Denver Water’s Dillon Reservoir, on the Blue River. It’s nearly full. The creeks feeding it were running....

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