Site: John Fleck

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John Fleck: Lots and lots of people seem to be going to our National Parks

Driving back this week the long way from Las Vegas, Lissa and I were stunned by Zion National Park. The river was high, the rocks were red, and the people were everywhere. I’m guessing it’s been 50 years since my first Zion camping trip, with Mom and Dad and Lisa and one of those big ...

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2017-05-27 21:47   Click to comment

John Fleck: desert rats

ROGERS SPRING – Rogers Spring is a strange apparition in the desert, 400 gallons per minute burbling out of the side of a mountain and down through an oasis of palm trees before the water peters out into the creosote of the Mojave Desert. Driving up out of Kingman last Sunday, on our way to ...

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2017-05-25 03:02   Click to comment

John Fleck: When a water supply problem becomes an air quality problem

Matt Weiser (Water Deeply) has a nice interview with Mike Cohen (Pacific Institute) about one of the most interesting policy conundrums in Colorado River Basin water governance – the question of the Salton Sea. Here’s the sequence. California needs to figure out how to use less Colorado River water. Since the biggest chunk of the ...

The post When a water supply problem becomes an air quality…

2017-05-20 22:48   Click to comment

John Fleck: US drought migration patterns are not what I expected

We also note that migrants are very strongly attracted to areas experiencing drought. Drought are associated with low precipitation and higher-than-average temperatures, two amenities that attract residents (even if they may be detrimental for local agriculture). That is from The Effect of Natural Disasters on Economic Activity in US Counties: A Century of Data, an NBER paper ...

The post US…

2017-05-19 14:20   Click to comment

John Fleck: Colorado River reservoirs rising

According to the latest Bureau of Reclamation runoff and reservoir storage forecast (the “24-month study”, pdf here), combined storage in the two largest Colorado River reservoirs, Mead and Powell, will end this water year up 3.4 million acre feet from last year. Mead is forecast to end the year up more than five feet in ...

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2017-05-12 21:37   Click to comment

John Fleck: information control and the priesthood of water

The “nilometer” was the device used in ancient Egypt to measure water levels in the Nile: Only priests and rulers, whether pharaohs or later, Roman or Arab leaders, were allowed to monitor the nilometers, and their ability to predict the behavior of the Nile was used to impress the common people. (And to determine how ...

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2017-05-12 04:05   Click to comment

John Fleck: Using less water on the Lower Colorado River

At the end of April, Lake Mead sat at 1,085 feet above sea level, more than eight feet higher than it was a year ago. That is in part thanks to a big winter upstream, which has ensured continued above-average releases from Lake Powell upstream. But equally important is the fact that folks in the ...

The post Using less water on the Lower Colorado River appeared first on jfleck at inkstain.

2017-05-09 22:22   Click to comment

John Fleck: Where the Water Goes

There is much to like in Where the Water Goes, David Owen’s new book about “life and death along the Colorado River”, but the thing I liked most was the bemused charm with which Owen himself confronts western water’s absurdities, which must be embraced, but which are easily taken for granted. Here he is in Denver conference ...

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2017-05-07 22:20   Click to comment

John Fleck: A free government service, Grand Canyon National Park

The post A free government service, Grand Canyon National Park appeared first on jfleck at inkstain.

2017-05-04 23:16   Click to comment

John Fleck: A wet year on the Colorado, yes, but…

This is only the fourth year since the turn of the century with above-average flow on the Colorado River.

The post A wet year on the Colorado, yes, but… appeared first on jfleck at inkstain.

2017-05-04 22:21   Click to comment

John Fleck: people build markets

I said some stuff about water markets in this Q&A with Drew Beckwith of Western Resources Advocates: Beckwith: That’s certainly an NGO concern, that an unbridled market does not take into account the environment and that water would just run uphill towards money. Fleck: This is a problem with thinking about markets, right? A market ...

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2017-05-02 19:39   Click to comment

John Fleck: Flood plain connectivity, Rio Grande style

Through much of Albuquerque, the Rio Grande flows between levees at a grade slightly higher than the surrounding valley floor. As a result, storm water must be pumped over the levees into the river’s central channel, with a string of pumping stations and big pipe outfalls like this, on the east side of the river ...

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2017-05-01 15:15   Click to comment

John Fleck: we have a Deputy Interior Secretary nominee

McClatchy’s Stuart Leavenworth has details on the nominee to be of Deputy Interior Secretary, one of the key positions top the federal bureaucracy that helps manage western water: His name is David Longly Bernhardt, and he’s worked as the top lobbyist for California’s Westlands Water District, the largest agricultural entity of its kind in the ...

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2017-04-28 21:52   Click to comment

John Fleck: Costs, benefits of direct and indirect potable reuse

My UNM faculty colleague Caroline Scruggs and soon-to-be-graduate of both Community and Regional Planning and the Water Resources Program Jason Herman have a new paper on the costs of treating and reusing wastewater. Caroline and her students have been looking closely at the issue in the context of small inland communities, which are increasingly eyeing both ...

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2017-04-28 20:21   Click to comment

John Fleck: who’s in charge of Arizona’s Colorado River water, episode II

From the Arizona Municipal Water Users Association on the question of who speaks for Arizona on Colorado River issues: View note

The post who’s in charge of Arizona’s Colorado River water, episode II appeared first on jfleck at inkstain.

2017-04-28 00:42   Click to comment

John Fleck: who’s in charge of Arizona’s Colorado River water?

The feud within Arizona over who’s in charge of the state’s Colorado River water – the state Department of Water Resources or the Central Arizona Water Conservation District – escalated this week. This is from an April 25 “cease and desist” letter (obtained by me through a state public records act request) from the Arizona ...

The post who’s in charge of Arizona’s Colorado River water?

2017-04-27 16:35   Click to comment

John Fleck: best (lead bad?) US drought conditions since 2010

78.33 percent of the United States is in “not drought or abnormally dry” conditions in this week’s Drought Monitor. That’s the best we’ve seen since June 2010.   In writing this note, I am reminded of the linguistic dilemma posed by our lack of a good word for “not drought”.

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2017-04-27 15:52   Click to comment

John Fleck: 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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2017-04-24 21:58   Click to comment

John Fleck: words of western water

Lovely Felicity Barringer piece on our language of water. My favorite bit: In a bone-dry landscape like the Navajo reservation at the corner of Utah, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico, water names proliferated. Places like Tohatchi and Toadlena, New Mexico or Tonolea, and Tolani Lakes, Arizona, begin with tó, the Navajo word for water.

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2017-04-24 14:32   Click to comment

John Fleck: The Ghost of a River, Part II

Riding my bike late this morning, I stopped to admire a roadrunner in the trail. As you can see from the picture, it’s a ratty bit of trail (Gritty? We have more words for the sublime than the mundane.) flanked by the freeway to the north and a treeline to the south bordering old farm ...

The post The Ghost of a River, Part II appeared first on jfleck at inkstain.

2017-04-23 23:27   Click to comment

John Fleck: because science

My friend and collaborator Becky Bixby, a University of New Mexico biologist and the associate director of our Water Resources Program (she is our program’s science brain), on why she wasn’t at the March For Science yesterday: UNM’s Becky Bixby won’t be at the march. But that’s only because since the beginning of the semester, ...

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2017-04-23 15:23   Click to comment

John Fleck: The Ghost of a River

I’m moving out of my policy wonk comfort zone this morning, talking about The River in some new ways, about some new work I’ve been doing. It will be livestreamed, 9 a.m. MT:

The post The Ghost of a River appeared first on jfleck at inkstain.

2017-04-21 14:12   Click to comment

John Fleck: Bonus water for Lake Mead, with the chance for more next year

Dan Elliott has details on yesterday’s USBR announcement of a 9 million acre foot release from Lake Mead: The Bureau of Reclamation, which manages dams and reservoirs on the Colorado River, said it will release 9 million acre-feet from Lake Powell, sending it down the Colorado into Lake Mead, where it will be tapped by ...

The post Bonus water for Lake Mead, with the chance for more next year

2017-04-18 16:12   Click to comment

John Fleck: Oroville’s impact on Lake Mead

Friday’s announcement of an 85 percent California State Water Project allocation was, tentatively at least, good news for Lake Mead. When the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California gets a small supply from up north via the State Water Project, it needs more Colorado River water. Conversely, with a big State Water Project supply coming ...

The post Oroville’s impact on Lake Mead

2017-04-16 22:39   Click to comment

John Fleck: Water is For Fighting Over won an Independent Publisher Book Award Medal

Happy to report that my book, Water is for Fighting Over and Other Myths About Water in the West, has received a Gold Medal in the “IPPYs”.

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2017-04-15 22:16   Click to comment

John Fleck: the paradoxes of irrigation efficiency

The University of New Mexico water posse had a great visit yesterday with Christopher Scott, the new director of the Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy at the University of Arizona. Scott spoke a couple of times and met with students at our Community and Regional Planning program, who have been doing a lot ...

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2017-04-15 14:50   Click to comment

John Fleck: “reconciliation ecology” in the rice fields of California

Reconciliation ecology, the field’s founders say, “says we still have time to save most of the world’s species. But to do it, we must stop trying to put an end to civilization and human enterprise. Instead, we need to work on the overwhelming bulk of the land — the places we humans use. We need ...

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2017-04-14 13:40   Click to comment

John Fleck: Lower Colorado – America’s “most endangered river”

The environmental group American Rivers today declared the Lower Colorado River America’s “most endangered river“. The web page announcing this is fascinating. The pictures are not of iconic desert canyons and pristine rivers. They are of farmers. Growing food. A reminder of the multiplicity of values with which we embrace the importance of rivers.

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2017-04-11 14:34   Click to comment

John Fleck: Glen Canyon Dam and the $10 bill on the sidewalk

tl;dr The claims of “Fill Mead First” advocates that we could save hundreds of thousands of acre feet of water a year while draining Lake Powell and consolidating all the Colorado River’s water in Lake Mead don’t hold up. The longer version…. There’s this joke. Two economists are walking down the street when one spots ...

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2017-04-11 03:15   Click to comment

John Fleck: “I just found this route a couple weeks ago….”

One of the great joys of bicycling socially is route sharing. Albuquerque is a great bicycling city. We’ve got a nice network of trails that are completely separated from streets, including one along the Rio Grande that runs the whole length of the metro area. We’re seeing more and more facilities on the streets as ...

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2017-04-09 21:19   Click to comment


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