Sunday, December 29, 2019

WATER WARS: Sharing the Colorado, Ch. 1, Impending Crisis

Water Wars: Sharing the Colorado River

IMAGINE LIVING IN a world without clean drinking water. Could this really happen? Could this be our planet’s next global crisis? Is America likely to be spared?
Just as it could be argued that wars have been fought over access to oil, an environmental expert at the World Bank has said that the next wars will be over water, quite possibly the water stored on the Tibetan Plateau that ultimately irrigates most of Asia (Kallen, 2015). As will be noted below, political “wars” have already developed over the rights to various water supplies.
Concern over water supplies led recently to an unusual accusation: in mid-summer of 2018, an Iranian general accused Israel of stealing clouds that otherwise would alleviate an Iranian drought. [https:// drought-7679005/]


Water is present in several different forms here on Earth: the oceans, the Arctic and Antarctic ice formations, rivers and lakes, snow packs and glaciers, soil moisture, water vapor, clouds…. Water evaporates, forms clouds, which precipitate rain or snow, which becomes liquid water or snow and ice. Terrestrial plants absorb water from the soil and eventually give it up through transpiration from their leaves or from decomposition after they die. Water, especially liquid water, is essential to life. (See Appendix 2.)
If the Earth were much colder, it would be an ice ball, with negligible evaporation and negligible precipitation. If it were much hotter, there would be little liquid water on its surface, and almost all water not lost to outer space would be stored in the atmosphere as vapor or in clouds of water droplets and ice crystals. Life on Earth depends on our globe’s being in the relatively temperate zone it is now, with water in its solid, liquid, and gaseous forms.


In 2015, the World Economic Forum [ agenda/2015/01/why-world-water-crises-are-a-top-global-risk/] listed water issues as the largest global risk in the coming decade. Whether it is finding enough drinking water or obtaining water for agricultural irrigation (currently 70% of the world’s water usage), water scarcity is likely to produce lowered standards of living and greater international friction. Even now, as the WEF article indicates, a billion people live without safe drinking water, and a third of the world’s population lives in “water-stressed” areas. The International Atomic Energy Agency is cited as predicting that energy production 20 years from now will require 85% more water.
In a subsequent publication [ 2016/02/4-billion-people-face-severe-water-scarcity-at-least-for-onemonth-every-year/], a W E F author cited research indicating that world-wide some 4 billion people, 2/3 of the Earth’s population, face at least one month of water shortage every year, and nearly half of the people who face such water scarcity are in China or India. For half a billion of these people, the rainfall supplying potable water is less than the current demand, and the demand is going to grow as populations increase. Maps of water shortage show it to be most pronounced in northern and southern Africa, southwestern U.S., and Australia.
A recent article [] listed 17 major cities on the verge of running short of drinking water: Los Angeles, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Miami, Denver, El Paso, Lincoln (NE), Atlanta, San Francisco, Cape Town, Beijing, Sao Paolo (Brazil), Cairo, London, Moscow, Istanbul, and Mexico City.
Indeed, 2018 was the year Cape Town, South Africa, was expected to run out of drinking water []. The same article notes that only 1% of the world’s fresh water is accessible to humans, with much of the rest too remote or captured as snow or ice rather than potable liquid. One 2018 proposal for bringing fresh water to Cape Town, South Africa [ world-news/huge-icebergs-could-towed-antarctica-12456271] was to push floating chunks of ice that had been released from Antarctica naturally to supply the drought-stricken city. An ocean current would be harnessed to help to move the icebergs. They would be chopped up to form a slurry added to drinking water supplies. One expert estimated the typical iceberg could provide 30% of the city’s drinking water needs for a year.
California, Australia, and Brazil have areas that in the past few years have experienced drought, or “water stress,” where demand exceeded readily available resources. This has led to water theft in Brazil, India, and Mexico, sometimes blamed on a misunderstanding of the 2010 United Nations’ position that water is “a right.” This can lead to international tension, such as when a dam under construction on the headwaters of the Nile in Ethiopia is seen by some Egyptians as a threat to their water supply.
Although Africa as a continent is notably water-poor, the possibility of no potable water coming from the household water taps is imminent not only there in Morocco, but also in Spain, India, and Iraq. This conclusion was reached by analysis of satellite views of many of the world’s half-million dams. [] Analysis indicates dozens of countries face water shortages, according to the World Resources Institute. Examples of major dams that are more than 50% depleted are worrisome, the causes being a mix of reduced rainfall and increased usage.
An article by Derek Coleman in the Huntington, WV, HeraldDispatch [ article_291fe4dd-4ba8-5629-a96a-ad6ae0261c53.html] notes that in Sao Paolo, Brazil, a three-year period of drought brought the city’s reservoir to a bare 4% of its capacity.
In many cities in the world, population growth is aggravating the shortages. The population of Bangalore, India, has increased by 50% in just 6 years, putting great strain on the water supplies. Population growth is occurring around the world, requiring more fresh water yearly (Kallen, 2015). It is estimated that by 2025, newly industrialized nations like China, India, and Kenya, will need about 50% more water; currently industrialized countries will need another 18%. Another estimate states that population growth and industrialization in Africa will require four times as much water as now used, by the year 2040 (Kallen, 2015).
Coleman writes that China has 20% of the world’s population, but only 7% of its water. In Beijing “nearly half the water is so polluted, it can’t even be used by either industry or agriculture.” Water pollution of the Nile River in Egypt is so bad that much of the water is hazardous, and the country is predicted to have a drinking water crisis in seven years. Pollution ruins some 60% of Russia’s water supplies in a country that has 25% of the world’s water supply. The UN estimates “the need for water will exceed the world’s supply by 40% in the next ten years….” Many poor nations have terrible sanitation facilities, leading to contaminated water supplies.
It is estimated that every 21 seconds a child (usually outside the U.S.) dies from dirty drinking water (Kallen, 2015).
Our book describes the water scarcity problems and discusses the options for overcoming them, hopefully before they reach crisis proportions. Its focus will be on drinkable water, but it is worth noting that public vs. private recreational uses of lakes and rivers are generating conflicting demands on those resources as well [https://www. public-lands-waterways].
A publication by The Pew Charitable Trust, STATELINE of April 17, 2018 [ stateline/2018/04/17/drought-returns-to-huge-swaths-of-us-fuelingfears-of-a-thirsty-future] stated that “nearly one-third of the continental United States was in drought on April 10 [2018], more than three times the coverage of a year ago.” The article goes on to note predictions of severe water shortages in the West and Southwest U.S.
Of concern for the near future is the Colorado River, source of water for some 40 million people. This region is the focus of our book. The U.S. EPA is cited as predicting that global warming by 2050 will quadruple the number of above-100-degrees days in the U.S. Southern Plains region. Groundwater supplies (aquifers) are used by half the U.S. population, nearly all of the rural fraction, and these are being depleted, more water being used than is being replaced.
The primary source of drinking water for both Tucson and Phoenix, Arizona, Lake Mead, Colorado, site of the Hoover Dam, may drop even more precipitously due to a thirty-year drought in its region (Davis, 2018): The Bureau of Reclamation held a presentation for hundreds of interested parties in June of 2018, explaining that Arizona officials need to join with the six other Colorado River Basin states to prepare a drought plan now, as there is a 65% chance the lake will fall to levels that require cutting back the water currently supplied to the municipalities covered by the $4 billion Central Arizona Project (CAP).


On August 15, 2018, the Bureau of Reclamation, a multi-state agency, predicted there is a 52% chance that by 2020 the water level in Lake Mead would fall below the threshold that requires a Federal water shortage declaration, which could be a blow to the Southwest region’s economic prospects. Bureau officials are cited as stating this has been the driest 19-year period in their recorded history.
Los Angeles Times reporter Bettina Boxall [ local/lanow/la-me-colorado-cuts-20181010-story.html] outlined an agreement being worked out with Arizona and Nevada on sharing water from the Colorado River during periods of drought. California would reduce its diversion from the river by 4.5% to 8% as the shortage continued, with Arizona and Nevada losing their water earlier, having had later “appropriation” histories. So far, with occasional breaks, there has been a shortfall from 2000 on. The whole Basin is at 47% of capacity; the Upper Basin’s Lake Powell is at 45%, and the Lower Basin’s Lake Mead is at 38%; some experts expect drought restrictions to be announced by 2020.
Because of arrangements made in prior years, including the purchase of water rights and the banking of unused water allocations, the Metropolitan Water District (MWD) of Southern California has some built-in cushioning of the effects of the Basin’s drought conditions region-wide. Experts believe the Lower Basin problems will only worsen, because the usage is outpacing the supply.


I will be serializing here weekly the Microsoft Word transcription of the final galley proof .pdf copy ot WATER WARS, and the book itself  is most conveniently found at

or at DWC's author's book title list

UNDERSTANDING SASSIE, 26. Sassie and Goldie

Understanding Sassie: A Novel of Dog and Human Communication

Sassie could not believe her eyes.  Goldie was in the large, inside exercise room and off-leash.
Jane unclipped Sassie’s leash. and she immediately gave Goldie a Play Bow.  It was like, “Hi, Mom!  Let’s play!” Then Sassie began to run circles around Goldie.

Millie and Jane were laughing at the actions of the two dogs.  Millie commented, “You would think that these two dogs knew one another!” 

Jane agreed, and they pulled up a couple of folding chairs; they decided to talk while the dogs were having fun together.  Jane began by saying, “I’m concerned about the weather forecast on Saturday.  They predict freezing rain.  It is unusual at this time of the year, but I am thinking it would be wise to cancel the puppy play date.  I just do not want anyone to try to come here when the conditions could be very dangerous.  What are your thoughts?”

As the dogs ran around playing, they had taken no notice of Millie and Jane.  Sassie was telling Goldie, “I never thought I would ever see you again.  You said that man was dangerous.”

Sassie was very happy to see her mom but was also curious about how she had arrived here.  They had found a rope and were now playing Tug-of-War. 

Goldie’s reply was a bit surprising but a truth that Sassie had already learned.  “Man can be a danger, but sometimes men just need us to help them learn about love.”  They both looked over at the women and decided to check in with them.

Millie was showing off the ring she was wearing.  “Mike has asked me to marry him. Of course, I said yes.  We decided to set the wedding date sometime after my college graduation.” 

Goldie began to nudge Millie’s elbow, and as Millie gave her a kiss, Sassie sat in front of Jane.  “Yes, you can have a treat.  You are such a good dog.”  Jane reached into her treat pouch and gave one treat to Millie for Goldie and then got a second treat for Sassie.

“Goldie has helped us to understand love.  She has been a blessing for both of us.”  Millie said this as she gave her treat to Goldie.

Millie remembered their bad-weather topic and said, “I do think it would be wise to cancel the puppy play date.  With the darkness coming so early during this time of year, it can be both hard to see and dangerous driving.  Black ice is sometimes hard to recognize during the day but more of a problem at night.   Do you want me to help you call everyone?”


With her permission, I am serializing a chapter a week, on this blog, near-final material from this instructive novel by dog trainer Helen A. Bemis, published by Outskirts Press and available through  UNDERSTANDING SASSIE  

Connect with all Helen A. Bemis books on Amazon.

I coached and edited for Helen through my Write Your Book with Me endeavor.

Sunday, December 22, 2019

WATER WARS: Sharing the Colorado River

Water Wars: Sharing the Colorado River

WATER WARS: Sharing the Colorado River 
All Rights Reserved.
Copyright © 2019 Bruce J. Carter, Ph.D., and Douglas Winslow Cooper, Ph.D. v3.0
The opinions expressed in this manuscript are solely the opinions of the author and do not represent the opinions or thoughts of the publisher. The author has represented and warranted full ownership and/or legal right to publish all the materials in this book.
This book may not be reproduced, transmitted, or stored in whole or in part by any means, including graphic, electronic, or mechanical without the express written consent of the publisher except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.
Outskirts Press, Inc.
ISBN: 978-1-9772-1253-5
Cover Photo © 2019  All rights reserved - used with permission.
Outskirts Press and the “OP” logo are trademarks belonging to Outskirts Press, Inc.

“In Water Wars: Sharing the Colorado River, Dr. Carter and Dr. Cooper provide a comprehensive accounting of the all-too-many historical and current contexts where human conflict has arisen over access and use of limited fresh water around the globe. They review useful analysis frameworks from which to better understand sustainable solutions for sharing water from one of North America’s most important sources-- the Colorado River basin. For those that want a glimpse into a world where we must treat fresh water as the fundamental, and limited, resource it is, and what to do about it, this book is an important resource.”

Dr. William C. Schulz III, Director, Walden University Center for Social Change Professor of Strategic Management & Leadership


We dedicate this work to those endeavoring to assure adequate supplies of water to inhabitants of the Colorado River Basin and those dependent on water from the Basin, along with those who are supporting preparing for whatever level of climate change awaits us.
Also, I [BJC] dedicate this book to my parents, who are deceased.
Despite having only third-grade and seventh-grade educations, they taught me that hard work pays off and never to quit; moreover, to my beautiful bride: stay strong, dear, soon your childhood dreams
and blessings are about to become true. Furthermore, thank you for always encouraging me and standing by me during the good and bad times, helping me to keep the faith.
I [DWC] dedicate this book to our friends and family and  especially to Tina Su Cooper, my wife for over three decades now, my forever love.

I [BJC] gratefully acknowledge the many friends, colleagues, teachers, archivists, and other public policy scholars, as well, who assisted, advised, and supported our research and writing efforts over the past year. Primarily, I express my gratitude and sincere appreciation to Michael J. Dowling, who introduce me to Douglas Winslow Cooper, whose friendship, hospitality, knowledge, and wisdom have supported, enlightened, and entertained me over the last year of his mentorship. All have consistently helped me keep perspective on what is essential in life and shown me how to deal with reality.
I [DWC] thank the scholars and journalists whose work has provided the basis for ours, as we have “stood on the shoulders of giants” [Isaac Newton] to get a better view of prudent management of precious water supplies, particularly as this applies to the Colorado River Basin. I also thank my co-author, Bruce J. Carter, for our highly congenial collaboration, and for the opportunity to participate in this project.

Asked to write the foreword for Water Wars: Sharing the Colorado River, which deals with potential future drinking water shortages due to water pollution, population growth, toxic chemicals, and climate change, I was honored and reflective. We live in a world where our road has many forks and takes us on some incredible journeys. This book investigates the challenge of impending water scarcity, emphasizing preserving and protecting our planet’s drinking water; among other intellectual resources, the book relies substantially on the work of an international prize-winning economist, the late Elinor Ostrom, who emphasized eight principles of the management of common-pool resources (CPRs), such as watersheds.
There are four main thematic parts to this informative book. The first presents some historical background, noting frequent and longstanding global water conflicts. The second provides an overview of the Colorado River Basin and the laws governing the allocation and use of its water. Third, the book discusses environmental norms and the practices governing the use of common-pool resources. Finally, the book reviews solution options to an impending shortage of clean water in the Basin, along with discussion and recommendations. It ends with several valuable appendices, including one on cyber security as it applies to water resource management.
By providing a historical context, Water Wars makes an ambitious effort at providing remedies to an impending water scarcity challenge. Environmentalists have become increasingly aware of the economic and social factors affecting shared water use. While environmentalists will appreciate the significance of the facts and analyses presented by the authors, many government officials, international organizations, military planners, and political activists will also find this scholarly book useful.
The breadth of the analyses presented in this book make it exceptional in a field where there are continuing disagreements about man-made climate-change. Water Wars: Sharing the Colorado River does not claim to present the only solutions nor does it demand specific actions; it neither defends nor questions the predictions of significant climate change. Instead, the authors present a set of facts and alternative positions.
The points the authors make in Water Wars are solid and important, and its arguments in favor of a heightened awareness of a possible global water supply shortage are convincing. Early action can prevent later regret.
This book will inspire thought and, I hope, constructive, informed action.
Gen. Johnnie E Wilson, (Ret. Army)
Former Commanding General, United States Army Materiel Command (CG AMC) from 1996 to 1999

“Water, Water everywhere…. Nor any drop to drink.” So lamented poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s Ancient Mariner. In a few years, in some parts of the world, especially Africa, there is likely to be too little water to drink or to use for agricultural irrigation or even for industrial production, despite some three-fourths of the Earth’s surface being covered by water or ice. We have written this book to join those who have sounded the alarm about a possible water shortage and to help explain the global and the American situations, with an emphasis on the Colorado River Basin.
After some discussion of the global condition and trends, we turn our focus to the Colorado River Basin, the area in the U.S. with the greatest danger from a future shortfall of clean, drinkable (potable) water. As Opinion Contributors Christy Plumer and Julie Hill-Gabriel wrote in the September 15, 2018 issue of The Hill:
This year, the Colorado River Basin only received about a third of its average annual supply of snow-melt runoff. Such low runoff, coupled with continuing demand for water from cities, farmers, and ranchers, may stretch the Colorado River system beyond its breaking point. That’s a perilous prospect for a river that supplies drinking water to nearly 40 million people, supports 16 million jobs, generates $1.4 trillion in economic benefits, and irrigates nearly 6 million acres of farmland.
A recent report from the Bureau of Reclamation (2012) projects a 57 percent chance of shortages on the Colorado River in 2020 and beyond, and it indicates that water levels on Lake Powell, one of the river’s two main reservoirs, could drop very far and very fast — to the point where people in California, Arizona, or Nevada could have their supplies cut off without a say.
The impacts of these conditions are already being felt on the ground: Colorado closed the Yampa River to fishing and boating in July, and then, for the first time ever, also cut water to some users in September. []
A future water shortage is likely to aggravate the relationships in the Basin that have grown up around allocation of water. We note the work of the Pacific Institute, which has provided a detailed chronology of over 500 wars or conflicts involving water access as a trigger, a weapon, or a casualty of the conflict; [ water-conflict/]. In 2017 alone, nearly 50 such conflicts occurred, all of them overseas, not in America.
We present the various American legal modalities currently in place for handling, for adjudicating, such disputes without violence: Colorado’s Law of the River, contrasted with Riparian law, and proposals for a marketplace of water resource utilization rights. Recent work by the late, eminent economist Elinor Ostrom on managing common pool resources is highlighted here. In the appendices, we present the Water Cycle and discuss some tangential issues as well: cyber security in managing water allocation, waterborne illnesses, and the use of advanced engineering statistics approaches (Bayesian analysis) to the optimization of water usage.
One of us (Carter) recently finished his Ph.D. dissertation on the statistical analysis of educational opportunities for under-served communities. The other (Cooper) has served as the Director of Environmental Health Management at the Harvard School of Public Health. Both have long-standing interests in optimizing public policy.
We hope our book will prove of value to those concerned about the future supplies of clean water in a period with expected increases in public demand and possible diminution of supply due to climatic changes.
Bruce J. Carter, Ph.D. Douglas Winslow Cooper, Ph.D.
Summer 2019

Acknowledgments                                                                              i
Foreword                                                                                          iii
Preface                                                                                               v
Chapter 1: Impending Crisis                                                              1
            The Water Cycle                                                                       2
            Shortages Imminent                                                                 2
           The American Southwest                                                          6
Chapter 2: Global Impact                                                                  8
            Multiple Uses                                                                            8
           Worldwide Trends In Water Use                                             10
           Water Shortage As A Significant Global Risk                          14
           What Fuels The Shortage Of Water Resources?                      15
Improper Handling Of Water Resources Can Have 
           Catastrophic Consequences                                                    18
           Water Waste                                                                           20
           Causes Of The Water Crisis                                                    20
           Global Warming                                                                     21
Chapter 3: Water Conflicts                                                               26
            Risk Reduction                                                                       27
            Water Conflicts 2017                                                              29
Chapter 4: The Colorado River Basin                                              34
            The Colorado River                                                                35
           Tributaries                                                                              37
            The Western U.S. (Gallagher, 2017)                                       37
            The Future                                                                             38
Chapter 5: The Law Of The River (Colorado River)                        45
           Water Law                                                                              45
Chapter 6: Riparian Law                                                                  51
           Explanation Of Riparian Rights                                              52
Chapter 7: Environmental Markets                                                  55
           Water Marketing Issues                                                           55
           Environmental Markets                                                          55
           Why Environmental Markets Now?                                        76
Chapter 8: Does The Colorado River Itself Need Rights?                77
Chapter 9: Managing The Commons                                               80
           Game Theory And Practice                                                    84
           Studying Institutions In Field Settings                                     86
           Similarities Among These Examples                                       90
           Some Complexities Of L.A. Water Rationing                          91
          “Analyzing Institutional Failures And Fragilities”                    97
          “A Challenge To Scholarship In The Social Sciences”           116
           About Elinor Ostrom                                                            117
Chapter 10: Policy Options                                                            119
           Virtual Water                                                                        120
           International Activities                                                          121
           Tax Policies                                                                           124
“The Colorado River And The Inevitability Of Institutional
            Change”                                                                                124
Chapter 11: Evaluation Of Options                                               128
           Water Supply Scenarios                                                         129
           Water Demand Scenarios                                                      129
           Options And Strategies                                                         130

           Evaluation Of Options                                                         130
            Study Limitations                                                                  131
           Future Considerations And Next Steps                                 132
            Disclaimer                                                                             132
           Some Equity Issues                                                               133
Chapter 12: Discussion                                                                  135
Chapter 13: Recommendations                                                      138
Appendix 1: Water Crisis, Flint, Michigan, 2014-2019                    145
Appendix 2: The Water Cycle                                                        149
Appendix 3: Cyber Security Issues                                                 152
Appendix 4: Waterborne Illnesses                                                  161
Appendix 5: Applying Bayes Theorem To Hydrology                    165
           Discussion                                                                            169
Glossary (After Gallagher, 2017)                                                    171
           Physical                                                                                 171
            Legal                                                                                     172
References                                                                                     174
Bibliography                                                                                   182
About The Authors                                                                        186


I will be serializing here weekly the Microsoft Word transcription of the final galley proof .pdf copy ot WATER WARS, and the book itself  is most conveniently found at

or at DWC's author's book title list