Site: John Fleck

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John Fleck: The drying of New Mexico’s Rio Grande

I went on a bike ride this morning to get a look at the Rio Grande through Albuquerque. Flows dropped below 100 cubic feet per second Thursday evening for just the second time since we moved here in 1990. Flows this low are hard to measure – we didn’t get a numerical picture of just ...

The post The drying of New Mexico’s Rio Grande appeared first on jfleck at inkstain.

2018-09-15 20:54   Click to comment

John Fleck: Tough to be a fish in the Colorado River

As Lake Powell drops, a waterfall forms at the reservoir’s upper end as the San Juan cuts down through sediments dropped when the reservoir was fuller. The resulting waterfall is a bit of an obstacle to fish: The razorback sucker population estimate for 2017 alone was 755 individuals and, relative to recent population estimates ranging ...

The post Tough to be a fish in the Colorado River

2018-09-11 14:54   Click to comment

John Fleck: Draining the reservoirs on New Mexico’s Rio Grande

tl;dr Total reservoir storage on the Rio Grande in New Mexico at the end of August was the lowest it’s been since at least 1980. longer (with graphs!) In our University of New Mexico Water Resources Program class, we’ve been discussing the state of the Rio Grande in real time. This feels like a remarkable ...

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2018-09-09 21:24   Click to comment

John Fleck: Don’t forget Lake Powell

From 2000 through the end of 2018 (projected), Lake Powell’s elevation will have dropped approximately 94 feet despite Upper Basin consumption only averaging about 4.5 million acre?feet (maf)/year. Several particularly dry years—including 2018—in a process of continuing aridification contributed to the drop, but ultimately it is the operational rules that are slowly but surely draining ...

2018-08-24 19:35   Click to comment

John Fleck: For not fighting over

Wolf and his colleagues combed through thousands of newspaper clippings and historical accounts of anything having to do with water at international borders. He ranked every event on a scale of -7 to +7, with numbers below zero indicating worsening degrees of conflict, and numbers above zero pointing to increasing degrees of collaboration. “It turns ...

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2018-08-19 01:52   Click to comment

John Fleck: Albuquerque, y’all

Sunrise over the Sandias, Albuquerque, New Mexico, Aug. 17, 2018

The post Albuquerque, y’all appeared first on jfleck at inkstain.

2018-08-17 20:34   Click to comment

John Fleck: Colorado River shortage looming because Lower Basin is using too much water

tl;dr The Lower Colorado River Basin has gotten 10 million acre feet of “bonus water” since 2000, above and beyond its entitlement under the Colorado River Compact. But we’re about to have a formal shortage declaration because the Lower Basin keeps using more water than it perhaps ought to. (bad words in earlier draft deleted) ...

The post Colorado River shortage looming because Lower Basin…

2018-08-16 02:33   Click to comment

John Fleck: water in the desert

water tanks in the desert, Tuba City, Navajo Nation

The post water in the desert appeared first on jfleck at inkstain.

2018-08-05 19:22   Click to comment

John Fleck: Cutter Reservoir

CUTTER CANYON – Cutter Reservoir is an incongruous sight. The 10ish miles of dirt road it takes to reach it, up San Juan County Road 4450, is not suggestive of water. Thanks to oilfield money, the road is good as northwest New Mexico washboard dirt roads go. )We counted 21 well pads between the reservoir ...

The post Cutter Reservoir appeared first on jfleck at inkstain.

2018-08-04 22:39   Click to comment

John Fleck: “Water is Life”

Shiprock, Navajo The right, the artist(s) wrote this: How do you have a voice when you are marginalized and feel powerless? Keep making art.

The post “Water is Life” appeared first on jfleck at inkstain.

2018-08-04 13:42   Click to comment

John Fleck: I’m fine, thanks for asking.

Two friends in recent days have kindly asked about my well-being, noting that I haven’t posted anything on the blog since July 5. I’m fine, busy focused on the book Eric Kuhn and I are writing about the history of our hydrologic understanding of the Colorado River, and the interplay between science, politics, and policy. ...

The post I’m fine, thanks for asking. appeared first on jfleck at…

2018-08-02 20:52   Click to comment

John Fleck: Water is for fighting over (not) now just $4.99 for the e-book

Thanks to the folks at Island Press, screamin’ deal on Water is for Fighting Over and Other Myths about Water in the West right now.

The post Water is for fighting over (not) now just $4.99 for the e-book appeared first on jfleck at inkstain.

2018-07-05 18:13   Click to comment

John Fleck: While I have your attention….

I’ve had quite a burst of new readership in the last few months, people apparently interested in the challenges facing the Colorado River, the people who use it, and the natural systems that depend on it. Thanks for that, and welcome! For those who missed it, I’ve written a book that warned about what we’re ...

The post While I have your attention…. appeared first on jfleck at inkstain.

2018-06-26 02:30   Click to comment

John Fleck: For central Arizona farmers, coming to terms with the reality that a Colorado River allocation is not an entitlement

As Arizona wrestles with the reality that its Colorado River supply as measured in actual wet water rather than the “paper water” doled out by the Law of the River, we’re getting a lesson in the difference between an “allocation” of Colorado River water and an “entitlement”. The place to watch this play out right ...

The post For central Arizona farmers, coming to terms with the reality that a…

2018-06-25 13:33   Click to comment

John Fleck: New USBR modeling suggests a bigger risk of Colorado River shortage than y’all might think

The conventional calculation of Colorado River shortage risk, which people like me frequently report, shows a 51 percent chance of Lake Mead dropping into “shortage”, below the magic trip line of elevation 1,075 at which mandatory cutbacks kick in, in 2020. But a new approach to modeling risk, which lots of folks (*cough* me *cough*) ...

The post New USBR modeling suggests a bigger risk of…

2018-06-24 01:08   Click to comment

John Fleck: Rio Grande at Embudo – “slouching towards intermittency”

A shape with lion body and the head of a man, A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun, Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds. – William Butler Yeats A friend sent me a note last night with the memorable subject line – “slouching towards ...

The post Rio Grande at Embudo – “slouching towards intermittency” appeared first on jfleck at inkstain.

2018-06-23 11:57   Click to comment

John Fleck: When people find out how cheap their water is, they use more of it

The conventional wisdom (and by “conventional wisdom” I guess I mean “what Fleck thought until just now”) is that giving water users better information about their usage and the price they’re paying could be a useful water conservation tool. Well, maybe not, according to some interesting new research by Daniel A. Brent of Pennsylvania State University ...

The post When people find out how…

2018-06-22 02:13   Click to comment

John Fleck: Upper Colorado River Commission ending participation in the System Conservation Pilot Program

The Upper Colorado River Commission, at its meeting this afternoon (Wed. June 20, 2018) in Santa Fe, voted to end its participation in the Colorado River System Conservation Pilot Program, in which water users, mostly farmers, were compensated for conservation measures in an effort to create “system water”. “System water” is a tricky concept, and ...

The post Upper Colorado River Commission…

2018-06-21 02:01   Click to comment

John Fleck: “We’re in uncharted territory”

Luke Runyon had a piece over the weekend about the latest Bureau of Reclamation 24-month study, the increasingly bleak monthly modeling run that shows Colorado River reservoir levels dipping and diving in a way that the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California’s Jeff Kightlinger described thus: “We’re in uncharted territory for the system,” says Jeff ...

The post “We’re in…

2018-06-19 14:38   Click to comment

John Fleck: Good news, or at least news that’s less bad, on the Gila

The U.S. Geological Survey took new measurements last week to calibrate the key gauge on the Gila River in New Mexico, and the rating curve has now been adjusted upward. The good news is that 2018 is no longer a record low year. Thursday’s revised flow of 14 cubic feet per second was still the ...

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2018-06-18 17:43   Click to comment

John Fleck: The Sandias

The remnants of Hurricane Bud blew through central New Mexico today, the first big rain we’ve had since forever. As the rains were clearing out, I hopped on my bicycle to check out the neighborhood flood control channel (as one does) and lucked into one of Albuquerque’s great sunset treats. It happens when the sun ...

The post The Sandias appeared first on jfleck at inkstain.

2018-06-17 02:36   Click to comment

John Fleck: Amy Haas to replace retiring Don Ostler as Executive Director of the Upper Colorado River Commission

Amy Haas, deputy director and general counsel of the Upper Colorado River Commission, will replace the retiring Don Ostler as the UCRC’s executive director July 1. Amy, formerly general counsel of the New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission, has been with the commission since last year, and has a long history of working within the interstate ...

The post Amy Haas to replace retiring Don Ostler…

2018-06-15 21:33   Click to comment

John Fleck: At Glenwood Springs, the fourth driest Colorado River flows in a half century

A typical John Fleck morning these days involves a cup of coffee (or two) and a curlup in the comfy chair as dawn creeps over my backyard while I wander the western United States looking at USGS stream gauges. Today’s gauge-of-the-day is my friend and colleague Eric Kuhn’s, at Glenwood Springs, Colorado. It’s just downstream ...

The post At Glenwood Springs, the fourth driest Colorado River…

2018-06-14 13:50   Click to comment

John Fleck: By request, a graph of the San Francisco River near Glenwood, New Mexico

I’ve no idea what’s going on here, but a reader asked, so here’s a graph of the San Francisco River near Glenwood, New Mexico.

The post By request, a graph of the San Francisco River near Glenwood, New Mexico appeared first on jfleck at inkstain.

2018-06-14 02:46   Click to comment

John Fleck: Circa 1983, an early view of climate change and western water

From New York Times reporter Philip Shabecoff’s October 1983 piece examining some of the more significant findings in a new National Academies report on the implications of climate change: Paul E. Waggoner, a member of the assessment committee, said in an interview that ”people in California will be drinking their water,” instead of using it ...

The post Circa 1983, an early view of climate…

2018-06-12 15:22   Click to comment

John Fleck: Central New Mexico water agency cutting back some of its irrigators

Reservoir levels dropped over the weekend past a critical trigger point, causing the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District to curtail water deliveries this week to about 5,000 acres of farmland in central New Mexico. With El Vado Reservoir on the Rio Chama just 26 percent full, the decision to cut deliveries to the MRGCD’s “water ...

The post Central New Mexico water agency cutting back some…

2018-06-12 11:48   Click to comment

John Fleck: Drought, climate change – we know more than we used to

Ben Cook, Justin Mankis, and Kevin Anchukaitis have an extremely helpful review paper in Current Climate Change Reports (ungated, thanks) sorting out what we do and don’t know about the impact of climate change on droughts. The IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report was cautious in its assessment of our knowledge of drought, reporting only “low confidence” ...

The post Drought, climate change – we…

2018-06-11 19:03   Click to comment

John Fleck: Golf

According to the USGS, there are 1,300 acres of golf course in Bernalillo County (Albuquerque etc.), using 6,100 acre feet per year of water. Which makes the water policy implications of this this Nolan Gray story fascinating: Golf is dying, many experts say. According to one study by the golf industry group Pellucid Corp., the ...

The post Golf appeared first on jfleck at inkstain.

2018-06-08 19:15   Click to comment

John Fleck: Lowest flow ever recorded on New Mexico’s Gila River

If my math is correct, flow on the Gila River gauge located near Gila, New Mexico, dropped today to the lowest ever measured, in a record that goes back 89 years. The red line is the daily flow, in cubic feet per second, as measured by the U.S. Geological Survey. The cloud of gray lines ...

The post Lowest flow ever recorded on New Mexico’s Gila River appeared first on jfleck at inkstain.

2018-06-07 01:11   Click to comment

John Fleck: In water policy, we often refer to “the Mad Max scenario”

The post In water policy, we often refer to “the Mad Max scenario” appeared first on jfleck at inkstain.

2018-06-06 17:27   Click to comment


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