Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Well ... maybe

I found a link to this story on Aquafornia this morning and was intrigued enough to read the article - even though I was skeptical.  Obviously the first thing that jumps out at you is the title - "Watering fields in California boosts rainfall in Southwest".  Makes you think that someone has possibly confirmed a link between the two.  But then you read the first line in the story and that claim is qualified with "a new computer simulation suggests."  So it turns out that using an appropriately scaled atmospheric circulation model and making some assumptions about excess evaporation occurring in the Central Valley of California in the summer it appears it just might be possible that some of the summer thunderstorms over the southwest could be modestly enhanced by said excess evaporation.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Can Reclamation Change its Ways?

There has been lots of chatter in the blogosphere and elsewhere about the recently released Colorado River Basin Water Supply and Demand Study from the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR).  This really is a ground-breaking study in many ways: it enshrines the likelihood that climate change is likely to have an impact on water supplies in the basin in the future; it acknowledges that the lower basin is already out of kilter in the supply vs. demand equation, and is highly dependent on deliveries of excess water from the upper basin to continue meeting that demand; and probably biggest of all, it largely acknowledges that the era of large public works projects to address water needs is probably over.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Enhancing the Management of Arizona's Aquifers - an Alternate Proposal to ADWR

Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR) recently floated a proposal to change the formula is uses to grant groundwater credits to entities that artificially recharge renewable water into aquifers as a way to permit additional groundwater pumping.  The state recharge program is a somewhat complicated scheme that I can't explain in detail right here, but you can get lots of other information at ADWR's website here.  This proposal is being made as part of the 4th Management Plan process - a once-a-decade planning exercise that is intended to get Arizona's Active Management Areas to Safe Yield by 2025.

The gist of the proposal is that it would reward entities that locate their recharging activities closer to where they are actually pumping out groundwater.  A worthwhile endeavor to be sure.