High good, low bad: Mead in January 2012

Notes about Colorado River snowpack in January 2012, Lake Mead and public comment on the DEIR being circulated on the Cadiz Valley groundwater mining project.

Commenting on the unspeakable

Five years ago, when asked about a plan by Las Vegas to pump groundwater around the Great Basin National Park, Nevadan hydrologists who learned that I was a reporter based in Southern California used to respond, “If you think that’s bad, you should look at Cadiz.”

Nevadans live to insult Californians, but it was said so many times by so many hydrologists that roughly two-and-a-half years ago, I started looking at this worse-than-Vegas Cadiz.

It wasn’t the Spanish port, but a little-known unincorporated pocket of the Californian Mojave just visible in the upper right hand corner of this lovely old map. Thanks to a water project backed by some of the golden state’s leading politicians, even five years ago Cadiz had another meaning. It was hydrology shorthand for “water grab.”

As I began studying it, incredulous dispatches on Cadiz became an early and running theme in this blog. We

Elden Hughes and Cadiz

If it were possible to raise Elden Hughes from the dead, the release today of the draft environmental impact report on the Cadiz Valley Water Conservation, Recovery and Storage Project would do it. A recipient of the Sierra Club’s John Muir Award for his work protecting California deserts, Hughes — who died on Sunday in Joshua Tree — was an integral part of the drive that in 2002 temporarily defeated a scheme by Cadiz, Inc to mine an ancient reserve of groundwater near the Mojave National Preserve.

For background on the Cadiz project, click here. To hear Hughes on KPCC’s Larry Mantle Show after the Cadiz project was revived in 2009, here. Do, while reading, be sure to click here for a fine obituary on Hughes by the LA Times’s Louis Sahagun.