Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Here's to you, Mrs. Robinson

Got word in the daily paper today that Priscilla Robinson, a very influential voice in water and environmental policy over the past 40 years in Arizona passed away on Monday.  I didn't know her very well because most of her really momentous work was completed while I was still learning the difference between groundwater and subflow.  And she was someone who worked behind the scenes, helping move the levers of power to bring about important changes in how the state manages groundwater, regulates polluting activities, and protects our natural environment.  She was retired by the time I encountered her at meetings of the City-County Water Study and the Safe Yield Task Force, but you could tell she was someone that the others involved took very seriously.  Other smart people I know have remarked to me what an amazing facilitator she was, which coupled with her ability to comprehend the political processes that got things done, made her extremely effective when she grasped onto an idea that was worth pursuing.

My condolences to her family.  I hope her spirit of compromise and ability to craft workable solutions carries on in all who knew her, worked with her, and understood her passions.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Group Dedicated to Restoring Glen Canyon Wants More Water in Lake Mead and Less in Lake Powell

This article was sent to me in an email earlier this week.  As you might have guessed from the headline, I think their plan is a little self-serving.  That's not to say it is clearly without merit.  I don't have access to the study their conclusion is based on, but I would be very interested to read it.

I agree that seepage into the Navajo sandstone that borders the lake could soak up a significant amount of water stored there, but wouldn't much of what enters the rock during high water periods later exit the rock when the water is low?  Admittedly, some of that water would be bound up in the rock matrix over time, but once that matrix porosity has been filled it can't be refilled again.  So in some sense, the damage has been done and won't be undone by changing the management strategy of the reservoir.  But I would like to see the data and calculations or models that were employed to get a better sense of how they reached their conclusions.