Drought, Climate, Elephant Butte Water Storage

and the future of water storage for the lower Rio Grande Valley of New Mexico.
By Robert W. Endlich
Elephant Butte Dam and Landscape in New Mexico. Photo by U.S. Army Corps

Laura Paskus’ 3-part series on the current drought, its effects on farmers and residents, and the coming US Supreme Court decision, starts with a question, ”Elephant Butte is at 3 percent capacity; what happens next?” Let me introduce measurements, missing from Paskus’ series: Elephant Butte Lake levels, temperature, rainfall, and climate patterns. My analysis: nothing in the current meteorological/climatological situation is worse than the past century. History and study show that either water availability must increase, or water costs will increase.

Paskus’ sense of alarm with recent Elephant Butte Reservoir capacity falling to 3% implies impending catastrophe, but historic data show frequent episodes where the reservoir capacity in the 1950s, 60s and Continue reading “Drought, Climate, Elephant Butte Water Storage”

Q&A Following Dr. David Gutzler’s Water Conservation Workshop

by Bob Endlich

[Dr Gutzler conducted the 1 March 2018 “Lush and Lean” water conservation workshop in Las Cruces in the Roadrunner Room of the Branigan Library from 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM:  About an hour-long lecture of 21 Slides, followed by questions and answers. The nominal topic was, “Learn about projecting future water supplies in a rapidly changing climate.” I prepared this memo the next day, 2 March 2018 and have edited it a bit in the time since.  I provide it in this post as a small part of the overall climate debate.]

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Bob Endlich at News NM Radio Set

Overall Gutzler did only a fair job explaining the development of the present La Nina and the present and impending drought conditions; I rate it as ‘only fair’ because he did not mention either the 2016 El Nino or features of El Nino-Southern Oscillation, he mentioned the Pacific Decadal Oscillation but did not explain it, or it’s 60-year periodicity.

[This is perhaps professional one-upsmanship on my part, because I think and thought at the time that my presentations on the subject are better than his, an example of my most recent on this subject is at the web site, https://casf.me/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/PDF_Climate-History-and-El-Nino_ENSO-_3_Oct_2017.pdf Slides 34 to 122]

Dr. Gutzler devoted perhaps only 5 minutes to the “increasing greenhouse gasses are causing anthropogenic climate change,” but this point was the last one in the three points he emphasized in his concluding slide.

There were a couple of people who approached Gutzler after the talk was over; I was the last and introduced myself; we have Continue reading “Q&A Following Dr. David Gutzler’s Water Conservation Workshop”