Site: John Fleck

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John Fleck: We need to come to terms with the fact that we’re using less water

tl;dr Western water policy and politics has to come to grips with the fact that overall water use is declining, not rising, as populations and economies grow. The longer version…. Two years ago, when I was deeply immersed in the act of writing my book, I had an incredibly important conversation with Emily Davis, my ...

The post We need to come to terms with the fact that we’re using less water

2017-11-17 17:39   Click to comment

John Fleck: Iron, plastic, and big pipe’s battle to replace your municipal plumbing

Hiroko Tabuchi has a fascinating piece in this morning’s New York Times about a battle underway to determine whether gazillions of dollars in infrastructure spending to upgrade America’s municipal plumbing is spent on iron or plastic pipe. It features a couple of issues I love to talk about with our University of New Mexico Water ...

The post Iron, plastic, and big pipe’s battle to replace…

2017-11-11 13:06   Click to comment

John Fleck: New USGS data shows municipal water use, including in the West, continues to decline

The latest USGS data on water use by U.S. municipalities shows a continued decline, despite a growing population. This not just a decline in per capita use, though it is that. But per capita use continues to drop faster than population is rising in most areas. Brett Walton has a nice summary of the findings, ...

The post New USGS data shows municipal water use, including in the West, continues…

2017-11-10 03:38   Click to comment

John Fleck: dawn at the Route 66 neon shop, Albuquerque, New Mexico

The post dawn at the Route 66 neon shop, Albuquerque, New Mexico appeared first on jfleck at inkstain.

2017-11-04 14:01   Click to comment

John Fleck: When people have less water, they use less water

Consumptive use of Colorado River water by the states of the Lower Basin (Nevada, California, and Arizona) is on track this year to be at its lowest since 1986. This graph, which I put together this weekend for a talk I’m giving at the Upper Colorado River Basin Water Forum at Colorado Mesa University in ...

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2017-10-29 21:23   Click to comment

John Fleck: “f/8 and be there”

The photojournalist’s mantra in the age of the ubiquitous mobile phone camera….

The post “f/8 and be there” appeared first on jfleck at inkstain.

2017-10-27 16:14   Click to comment

John Fleck: “the Eden of all bass fishermen”

One of my favorite bits of business that never made it into my Colorado River book was a late afternoon encounter at Lake Mead’s Boulder Harbor boat ramp with a guy named Scotty. I was thinking about Scotty when I came across the image below, in a 1946 Bureau of Reclamation report on the development ...

The post “the Eden of all bass fishermen” appeared first on jfleck at inkstain.

2017-10-25 17:01   Click to comment

John Fleck: More evidence that climate change is reducing the Colorado River’s flow

Scientists for many years have projected a decline in the Colorado River’s flow as a result of a warming climate. But it’s only in the last couple of years that we’ve begun to see evidence that this is already happening. The system has a lot of natural variability, so detecting the relatively smaller impact of ...

The post More evidence that climate change is reducing the Colorado River’s flow

2017-10-24 14:19   Click to comment

John Fleck: on democracy

Erik Loomis is writing here about capitalism and socialism and forestry, but this generalizes: [W]e need to value experts, not romanticize putting power in the hands of “the people,” which are not the figment of your projection about your own beliefs, but rather are the racist uncle at Thanksgiving and people who think The Big ...

The post on democracy appeared first on jfleck at inkstain.

2017-10-22 21:49   Click to comment

John Fleck: this was totally work related

A little “field work” yesterday morning, with one of our University of New Mexico Water Resources Program graduate students and a faculty colleague, looking at a potential environmental restoration site we’re studying. The only way to get there was by bicycle. Bummer.  

The post this was totally work related appeared first on jfleck at inkstain.

2017-10-21 22:44   Click to comment

John Fleck: When wastewater isn’t being “wasted”, Pasadena edition

Pasadena, California, wants to use treated effluent to water golf courses. This is a water policy no-brainer, right? Well…. “As part of preparations to commence deliveries of recycled water to Pasadena, the city of Glendale petitioned the State Water Resources Control Board to seek their approval for a reduction in the amount of treated wastewater ...

The post When wastewater isn’t being…

2017-10-19 13:27   Click to comment

John Fleck: California’s private utilities out-conserved its public utilities during the drought

If you had asked me to guess whether public or private utilities did better at water conservation, I would have without hesitation guessed that public utilities did better. So here’s a fascinating result from Manny Teodoro and Youlang Zhang of Texas A&M, looking at data from the recent California drought: [O]n average, communities served by private utilities ...

The post California’s private…

2017-10-18 16:43   Click to comment

John Fleck: Fish returning to the Fraser in one of Colorado’s high mountain valleys

An example of what can happen when folks stop fighting over water and search for common ground paths: Now, instead of a wide shallow creek, the low-flow Fraser River drops into a narrow channel that allows to run deeper, faster and colder. That led to a nearly immediate rebound in the fish population, according to ...

The post Fish returning to the Fraser in one of Colorado’s high mountain…

2017-10-17 18:15   Click to comment

John Fleck: It takes more than one year to dig out of California’s water hole

California has seen excellent groundwater recovery in the last year, according to a report last week from the California Department of Water Resources: But it’ll take more than a year to dig out of the hole left by the massive groundwater pumping of the last 6 years: From the report: While images of filling reservoirs ...

The post It takes more than one year to dig out of California’s water…

2017-10-15 14:12   Click to comment

John Fleck: writing is hard sometimes

The post writing is hard sometimes appeared first on jfleck at inkstain.

2017-09-30 22:41   Click to comment

John Fleck: Looking for flexibility within Arizona

Arizona’s current internal political struggles over allocation and management of shortage on the Colorado River illustrate a central dilemma in the basin’s transition from the era of managing development of the river’s water to the era of managing scarcity. While we generally have demonstrated the ability to use less water across a range of water ...

The post Looking for flexibility within…

2017-09-29 14:06   Click to comment

John Fleck: The resilience of the U.S.-Mexico Colorado River relationship

In a recent paper in Water International, Jacob Petersen-Perlman and colleagues identified one of the central features scholars have found in their study of international water agreements: Once institutional capacity is established between parties it has been proven to be resilient over time, even as conflict was being waged over other issues. Sitting in an ...

The post The resilience of the…

2017-09-28 17:31   Click to comment

John Fleck: Creeping forward on the Colorado River

“The network”, as I call the Colorado River governance structure in my book, is gathering this week in Santa Fe, New Mexico, to among other things celebrate the signing of a new agreement extending the agreement between the United States and Mexico over water sharing and allocation on the Colorado River. Two years ago at ...

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2017-09-25 14:14   Click to comment

John Fleck: Preliminary year-end data suggest New Mexico will meet its Rio Grande Compact obligations this year

Preliminary year-end modeling suggests New Mexico is in good shape to meet its obligations to deliver water to Texas under the Rio Grande Compact in 2018, according to data presented Thursday by the New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission to the executive committee of the Middle Rio Grande Endangered Species Collaborative Program. In a counter-intuitive twist, ...

The post Preliminary year-end…

2017-09-21 21:52   Click to comment

John Fleck: Westlands California water tunnels “no” could be “fatal blow”

This is a big deal: Citing concerns about costs to individual farmers, Westlands Water District’s board of directors voted 7-1 against participating in the project, known officially as California WaterFix. Westlands is the first major water agency to vote on the project, and other big districts are expected to make their decisions in the coming ...

The post Westlands California water tunnels…

2017-09-20 15:16   Click to comment

John Fleck: disaggregating agriculture

One of the great insights from my University of New Mexico colleague Bob Berrens, chair of the economics department and my predecessor as director of UNM’s Water Resources Program, is the importance of disaggregating agriculture. Much water policy discussion, rightly, revolves around the agriculture-municipal distinction. With ag getting (and needing) a much larger share of ...

The post

2017-09-14 13:36   Click to comment

John Fleck: collaboration has its limits

The post collaboration has its limits appeared first on jfleck at inkstain.

2017-09-10 20:48   Click to comment

John Fleck: Drought and the Presidency

Putting together a lecture for tomorrow for UNM Water Resources Program students on “drought” –  how we define, measure, and think about it – I noticed that Donald Trump, during a visit to North Dakota, seems to have brought up the issue, to wit: Trump on North Dakota’s drought: “It’ll disappear, it’ll all go away.” ...

The post Drought and the Presidency appeared first on jfleck at inkstain.

2017-09-06 22:49   Click to comment

John Fleck: Tamarisk beetle die-off not saving as much water as expected

The tamarisk beetle, introduced a decade ago to try to beat back an invasive tree clogging western rivers, has not saved as much water as hoped, according to new research by a team led by the USGS’s Pamela Nagler. Nagler and her colleagues used satellite data to estimate tamarisk water use before and after the ...

The post Tamarisk beetle die-off not saving as much water as expected appeared…

2017-09-06 13:18   Click to comment

John Fleck: But do we actually need more water?

If I’m to make any useful contribution in these waning years of my career as a professional water wonk, it is trying to make this point: John Fleck, director of the Water Resources Program at the University of New Mexico, said there is no clear need for the water – not now or in the foreseeable future. “Growth ...

The post But do we actually need more water? appeared first on jfleck at…

2017-09-05 20:59   Click to comment

John Fleck: Palo Verde Irrigation District sues Metropolitan Water District over Colorado River water

One of California’s largest Colorado River farm water districts is suing the state’s largest municipal water agency, charging that efforts to move farm water to cities are threatening the viability of agriculture in one of the oldest farming valleys on the river. The Palo Verde Irrigation District, in a suit filed last month in Riverside ...

The post Palo Verde Irrigation District sues…

2017-09-05 20:46   Click to comment

John Fleck: Was prior appropriation really about distributive justice?

From Jill Robbie at the University of Glasgow, a nice explanation of David Schorr’s revisionist account of the evolution of the “doctrine of prior appropriation” in western water law: For some law and economics scholars, the evolution of the prior appropriation doctrine is explained due to the high value of water in the dry climate ...

The post Was prior appropriation really about distributive…

2017-09-02 13:51   Click to comment

John Fleck: Flood risk is about where you build stuff

The stretch of the Rio Grande in Albuquerque where we worry most about flood risk is called the “Montaño Gap”, a couple of miles on the west side of the river in the center of town where a school, some homes, and businesses are located in lowlands with essentially no levee protection. There was an ...

The post Flood risk is about where you build stuff appeared first on jfleck at inkstain.

2017-08-31 14:13   Click to comment

John Fleck: “Sleep is our business.”

From the morning bike ride. “Sleep is our business,” and has been for some time. All-you-can-eat sushi and Korean barbecue came later.

The post “Sleep is our business.” appeared first on jfleck at inkstain.

2017-08-26 14:55   Click to comment

John Fleck: Some notes on New Mexico’s improving water situation

Three interesting visuals for a Friday morning to help illustrate New Mexico’s improving water situation, with caveats. One For this first time since the federal Drought Monitor began operations in January 2000, New Mexico is completely free of drought or unusually dry conditions. Our map is clear: This is excellent news, as Olivier Uyttebrouck noted ...

The post Some notes on New Mexico’s…

2017-08-25 17:41   Click to comment


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