Sabot L'ours (sabotlours) wrote,
Sabot L'ours

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Hell of a way to run a river

Wow! I helped cause a tempest today! Being a river manager means that I have to look at all of the various needs that rely on the river and make decisions to best meet all of those needs. Since some needs are conflicting, there will always be some party upset with your decision. The old adage was that if everyone was pissed off at you, you were doing your job (since everyone's needs were met at some time at the expense of another's). This is what happened yesterday.

We had been releasing 600 cubic feet per second (cfs) from one of our reservoirs. This was mainly to meet the needs of farmers, but I was also moving water from one reservoir to another. The region was hit by a large rainstorm event which took everybody by surprise. The irrigation district slashed their demand, and so we slashed our releases accordingly to 75 cfs. Now it just so happens that the river below the dam is prime "whitewater" rafting. It is a wonderfully scenic stretch with a few Class III rapids. This being the 4th of July weekend, there were numerous parties with permits wanting to raft down the river. The only problem is that the river is not raftable below 300 cfs.

We tried to swing a deal with the city of Albuquerque which owns storage space in the lower reservoir to see if we could move some water from the upper reservoir to the lower. The city balked. You see, one of the most vocal opponents to the city's new drinking water project is also one of the most vocal rafters. Why should the City help out someone who badmouths them every chance he gets? We, in our office, scrambled around trying different scenarios to see if there was some way that we could make rafting flows happen. We asked if the irrigation district could help out, but they have also been badmouthed by the rafter, so they were less than willing to help. We finally decided that there was nothing we could legally do. I just get an email from the rafter/environmentalist blasting everyone (Reclamation, the City, the District) for such sloppy river management. We have killed the river and have pissed off dozens of rafting companies. And trout are "gasping for breath." I find it funny that an environmentalist who wants a "natural river" is so pissed off that we are releasing water from the dam that equals what is coming in i.e. NATURAL FLOW! What he wants is a river that is better than nature. Well, better so that he can make money off of raft trips. He had a big float scheduled for tomorrow with a bunch of high ranking water managers. I guess he won't be able to go. And since he sent this email to everyone and their mothers, he has now pissed off the District and the City who were the only people that could have helped him. And now that he has pissed me off by essentially saying I did the wrong thing by saving precious water, I don't give a rat's ass if he can raft or not. I and my colleagues bend over backwards for this fucker and all of the rafting community. And now he bite my hand. Well, he just bit the hand that is on the faucet. And I have a feeling the faucet will stay closed.
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