Risk and Outrage on the Animas River

Outrage is directly correlated with what is visible and easy to understand, not what is actually outrageous. Case in point: the EPA accidentally released 1 million gallons of mine waste into the Animas River (while investigating how to stop mine drainage, no less), turning the river sludgy and bright orange. The response: HEADS MUST ROLL!…

Prior Appropriation is a Cap-and-Trade System

I didn’t set out to do this when I started this blog, or when I started my research into the future of water and society in the American West, but I seem to have brought upon myself a debate with the field of water economics. Water economists like market-derived solutions to our water problems, a…

A Call for Values-Based Water Administration

A film is only as good as the reasons for making it.  -David Mackenzie When I was in a fraternity (well, I still am in the fraternity, but you know what I mean) we were often told, nay commanded, to rush new freshmen into our organization through what the national-level suits called values-based recruitment. This…

The Problem with Water Markets

The historic drought in California has brought much welcome attention to the problems of water allocation in the American West. I can’t even count the number of articles explaining the “wasteful” water use by California’s almond and alfalfa farmers, or the ones laying out a better way forward. Two days ago, an international affairs fellow…

Photo Essay: Crowley County

Today I want to take you along on a journey. It’s one I took a few weekends ago. We’re going to not necessarily the most glamorous place. In fact I know it’s not the most glamorous place. We’re going to Southeastern Colorado, the lower Arkansas Valley. We’re going to two places primarily- Ordway and Rocky…