Site: John Fleck

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John Fleck: Downtown Albuquerque at dawn

Downtown Albuquerque at dawn – gulping its first breaths, hunting a breakfast burrito and a cup of coffee – is one of my favorite Albuquerques.

2019-03-22 13:50   Click to comment

John Fleck: We seem to have a Colorado River water use cutback plan, without the river’s largest user

From Janet Wilson at the Desert Sun: The Colorado River Board of California voted 8-1-1 Monday to sign on to a multi-state drought contingency plan, which, somewhat ironically, might not be needed for two years because of an exceptionally wet winter. The process was fractious until the very end, with blistering rebukes from the river’s largest water user, and charges that ...

2019-03-19 02:49   Click to comment

John Fleck: Water is For Fighting Over, out in paperback tomorrow

Publishing a book is a weird exercise in time shifting. Last fall, I was finishing Science be Dammed, the new Eric Kuhn-John Fleck book, while simultaneously working on a new afterward afterword to Water is for Fighting Over, out in paperback, well, tomorrow. My friends at Island Press helpfully reminded me this morning that it ...

2019-03-18 17:51   Click to comment

John Fleck: Albuquerque has cut its per capita water use in half. We celebrated with cupcakes.

There were cupcakes on a table by the door at the most recent meeting of the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority: “125 GPCD”. I have some schtick in my standard water talks: “Albuquerque has, since the mid-1990s, cut its per capita water use nearly in half.” That’s a pretty remarkable thing – a large ...

2019-03-18 02:34   Click to comment

John Fleck: For now, a Lake Mead “shortage” is off the table

The booming Rocky Mountain snowpack has eliminated the risk of a formal Lake Mead “shortage” declaration in 2020, and has substantially reduced the risk in 2021, according to the latest Bureau of Reclamation 24-month study. More importantly, in my view, is the reduction of a longer term risk of a legal battle over the Upper ...

2019-03-16 19:24   Click to comment

John Fleck: What a good water year looks like

One of the many reasons the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California interests me so much is the way that it integrates much of the complexities of water management in the western United States. By drawing supplies from the Sierra Nevada as well as the Colorado River Basin, it links the two largest arid-west ag-urban ...

2019-03-15 22:25   Click to comment

John Fleck: Cutting IID Out of the Lower Basin DCP Would Just Continue a Long Tradition in the Colorado River Basin

By Eric Kuhn If, as being widely reported, the Colorado River basin states (and the major water agencies that largely dictate what the states do) ultimately decide to proceed with a Lower Colorado River Basin Drought Contingency Plan that cuts out the Imperial Irrigation District (IID), no one should be surprised. It’s simply continuing a ...

2019-03-14 23:12   Click to comment

John Fleck: Institutions, shaping landscapes

Driving between old Mesilla, New Mexico, and the Rio Grande this evening after dinner, Lissa and I saw a bunch of new pecan orchards going in. We took last minute advantage of university spring break to head south. We spent some time wandering around looking at and thinking about the border, and also driving the ...

2019-03-13 02:40   Click to comment

John Fleck: Southern California’s Metropolitan is prepared to go it alone to make a Colorado River Drought Contingency Plan Work

The Desert Sun’s Janet Wilson has an important update on progress toward a Colorado River water use reduction plan – the poorly named “Drought Contingency Plan”: With a Monday deadline looming, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California has offered to break an impasse on a seven-state Colorado River drought contingency package by contributing necessary ...

The post Southern…

2019-02-28 20:28   Click to comment

John Fleck: Why Does the Lower Basin Need a Drought Contingency Plan?

Editor’s note: This is the first post by Eric Kuhn, former general manager of the Colorado River Water Conservation district and the co-author, with Inkstain’s John Fleck, of the forthcoming book Science Be Dammed: How Ignoring Inconvenient Science Drained the Colorado River, to be published this fall by the University of Arizona Press. By Eric ...

The post Why Does the Lower Basin Need a…

2019-02-24 22:16   Click to comment

John Fleck: Batman Meets the Penguin

By John Fleck ~ 1966-67(?) It was a sunny day in Gotham City. But it was very gloomy in an old all(e)y in the heart of town for the Penguin. Then he got an idea. He was going to rob the bank. But first he had to catch Batman and Robin. That was a problem. ...

The post Batman Meets the Penguin appeared first on jfleck at inkstain.

2019-02-24 20:33   Click to comment

John Fleck: How Arizona abandoned its plan to reduce its Colorado River water use

I deeply misunderstood central Arizona’s readiness to respond to declining Colorado River supplies. Because I thought Arizona had a plan. In fact, Arizona did have a plan, a carefully crafted priority system that provided some users with deeply subsidized water in the short run, with the understanding that they would be the first to have ...

The post How Arizona abandoned its plan to reduce…

2019-02-20 01:31   Click to comment

John Fleck: I’ll be talking about the new book this Friday (Feb. 22, 2019) in Albuquerque

I’m giving the first real talk about the new Eric Kuhn-John Fleck book – Science Be Dammed: How Ignoring Inconvenient Science Drained the Colorado River – this Friday to colleagues and friends as part of the UNM Economics Department spring seminar series. In a nutshell: The fate of nine states across two nations in western ...

The post I’ll be talking about the new book this Friday (Feb. 22,…

2019-02-20 00:52   Click to comment

John Fleck: “springs of living water would roll forth from these hills”

A story is told in one of the old accounts of the community of Bluewater, New Mexico, about a visit some time around the turn of the last century, by Apostle Brigham Young, Jr., to the Mormons trying to scratch out a farming life in this high desert valley west of Grants. The story involved ...

The post “springs of living water would roll forth from these hills” appeared first on jfleck at…

2019-02-10 23:41   Click to comment

John Fleck: About Lake Mead’s stranded clams

Walking the newly appearing shoreline of Lake Mead in December, I picked up the above clam. After I used the picture yesterday to illustrate a blog post and my water newsletter, I got a note from Karl Flessa, one of the founders of Centro de Estudios de Almejas Muertas – the Center for the Study ...

The post About Lake Mead’s stranded clams appeared first on jfleck at inkstain.

2019-02-04 16:25   Click to comment

John Fleck: The path to Colorado River collaboration is narrow, but we remain on it

Amid the Sturm und Drang of Arizona’s struggle to find a path to reduce its Colorado River water use in the face of a federal ultimatum, I lost sight of an important point. With last week’s legislative approval, Arizona has now agreed to a plan that could eventually reduce the Central Arizona Project’s flow of ...

The post The path to Colorado River collaboration is narrow, but we remain on…

2019-02-03 21:55   Click to comment

John Fleck: How things stand now that the Arizona legislature has approved the Colorado River Drought Contingency Plan

New plan: a temporary tattoo that reads, “CLOSE IS NOT DONE.” That was Commissioner of Reclamation Brenda Burman’s talking point during a press call this morning explaining what happens next now that we all turned into DCP-less pumpkins last night at midnight. The Arizona legislature gave its last-minute approval late yesterday (hilariously, as I was ...

The post How things stand now that the…

2019-02-01 17:08   Click to comment

John Fleck: What exactly is this federal Colorado River “deadline”?

There is a widespread misunderstanding about today’s Colorado River “Drought Contingency Plan” deadline. No, the federal government will not step in at midnight tonight and take over management of the Colorado River if the states of the Colorado River Basin have not approved the long-delayed, painfully negotiated DCP. That is not what Reclamation Commissioner Brenda ...

The post What exactly…

2019-01-31 21:20   Click to comment

John Fleck: Fall 2019, University of Arizona Press – Science Be Dammed: How Ignoring Inconvenient Science Drained the Colorado River, by Eric Kuhn and John Fleck

USGS hydrologist Eugene Clyde LaRue’s December 1925 testimony before the U.S. Senate Committee on Irrigation and Reclamation set my storyteller’s nerves tingling. It was a critical moment in the history of the West, as Congress deliberated turning the abstract water allocation rules of the Colorado River Compact into appropriations and concrete. Y’all probably know the ...

The post Fall 2019,…

2019-01-31 02:25   Click to comment

John Fleck: No, Lake Powell is not inexorably headed toward “dead pool”

Here is some data about Lake Powell, the big Colorado River reservoir straddling the Arizona-Utah border. Since 2005, the average estimated “natural flow” of the Colorado River at Lee’s Ferry has been 13.5 million acre feet per year, well below the 14.8maf average since 1906. So yes, it’s been dry. Since 2005, releases from Lake ...

The post No, Lake Powell is not inexorably headed toward…

2019-01-20 21:10   Click to comment

John Fleck: On Sunday, I crashed Lake Mead.

Sunday afternoon, I crashed Lake Mead. This was not difficult. Each spring, UNM Water Resources Program students do a case study of a river basin as they’re learning dynamic simulation modeling, linking hydrology, economics, and rules. This year, we’re doing the Lower Colorado River Basin. In the WRP curriculum, we’re big on understanding the rules ...

The post On Sunday, I crashed Lake Mead.

2019-01-14 21:08   Click to comment

John Fleck: Why I frame water collaboration/conflict the way I do

Communication experts have long expressed concerns that framing an issue as a conflict might make finding a reasonable path forward harder by suggesting that people need to choose sides and vanquish their opponents in order to succeed. Besley et. al on The Conversation

The post Why I frame water collaboration/conflict the way I do appeared first on jfleck at inkstain.

2019-01-11 17:00   Click to comment

John Fleck: #tbt to that time Lake Mead was full

In keeping with Twitter’s “Throwback Thursday” (#tbt) tradition, I offered up this picture today of Lake Mead, full. As near as we’ve been able to determine, this was taken in 1987. Here’s a picture I took in December from near the same spot:

The post #tbt to that time Lake Mead was full appeared first on jfleck at inkstain.

2019-01-10 20:37   Click to comment

John Fleck: Colorado River data

In the years I’ve been working on Colorado River stuff, I’ve collected a lot of data. Most of this is stuff the river managers at the Bureau of Reclamation have generously shared with me. Some I’ve assembled myself by transcribing old paper/pdf records of historic documents. Some of the Bureau’s most important data is already ...

The post Colorado River data appeared first on jfleck at…

2019-01-09 03:46   Click to comment

John Fleck: MWD increases its Lake Mead withdrawals

@mwdh2o has moved to a six pump flow on the Colorado River Aqueduct to start the new year in case the Drought Contingency Plan not finalized. Can’t afford to leave 5-600,000 AF of ICS storage stuck in Lake Mead if we go into shortage. — Jeffrey Kightlinger (@8thGenCA) January 5, 2019 For background: Meanwhile the ...

The post MWD increases its Lake Mead withdrawals appeared first on jfleck at…

2019-01-05 20:03   Click to comment

John Fleck: Happy New Year, Lake Mead dropped another foot in 2018

By the numbers, Lake Mead began 2019 at elevation 1,081.47 feet above sea level, down a foot in 2018. This comes in spite of yet another Upper Basin release of 9 million acre feet from Glen Canyon Dam last year, an extra 770,000 acre feet above the 8.23 million acre feet the Lower Basin can ...

The post Happy New Year, Lake Mead dropped another foot in 2018 appeared first on jfleck at inkstain.

2019-01-01 17:24   Click to comment

John Fleck: “What happens if we turn here?”

I turned down this alley in Albuquerque’s Old Town on a bike ride this morning, amazed that I’d never noticed it before. I spend a lot of time on the bike. I’m long past my youthful zoomy lifestyle, but in my slow and plodding way I have come to deeply value my time wandering Albuquerque. ...

The post “What happens if we turn here?” appeared first on jfleck at inkstain.

2019-01-01 05:08   Click to comment

John Fleck: The Last Christmas of Sears

If I was still a newspaper reporter, I would have been begging for this story.

The post The Last Christmas of Sears appeared first on jfleck at inkstain.

2018-12-23 22:35   Click to comment

John Fleck: DCP by the numbers

I’m forever needing to look up these numbers, sticking them here so I can find them easily, and y’all can as well. It’s the cuts by Lake Mead elevation levels for the various parties under the Colorado River Drought Contingency Plan and the related Minute 323 between the U.S. and Mexico:

The post DCP by the numbers appeared first on jfleck at inkstain.

2018-12-19 13:37   Click to comment

John Fleck: Megadrought

In the southwest…. “The last 19 years have been equivalent to the worst 19 years of the worst mega-droughts on record,” said Park Williams, a professor of bioclimatology at Columbia University, at a presentation of the work. Only three recent mega-droughts—in the late 800s, the mid-1100s, and the late 1500s—were worse than the current period, ...

The post Megadrought appeared first on jfleck…

2018-12-18 21:04   Click to comment


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