Lessons from Colorado: Water Management Arts & Sciences

Go Lean Commentary

CU Blog - Lessons from Colorado - Water Management Art and Science - Photo 4Water is vital for the sustenance of life. So if you’re surrounded by water, then the assumption would be that you have an abundance of life?

Assumption?! The reality in the Caribbean … is just the opposite.

While it should be so easy – 27 of the 30 member-states are islands and the other 3 coastal states are embedded with rainforests – the actuality is the water management in the Caribbean is deficient and dysfunctional.

Say it ain’t so!

There are lessons to be learned by visiting, observing and reporting on other communities that do water management better. This commentary reflects that activity; some Caribbean stakeholders explored the US State of Colorado and discovered that we have so much to learn about how to facilitate the infrastructure of an optimized society. We have seen how water management is an art and a science. (All non-encyclopedic photos in this commentary were snapped in Colorado by Bahamian student Camille Lorraine).

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As reported previously, the Caribbean has so much in common and so much in contrast with Colorado. One contrast to consider is how Colorado’s lakes, rivers and waterways are structured to sustain the lives and systems of commerce of that State and … 6 other States plus 2 States in the foreign country of Mexico.

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The 2013 book Go Lean…Caribbean visited Colorado’s water management. It detailed the strategies, tactics and implementation of the Colorado River Interstate Compact (an agreement between two or more states). This is reported on Page 278 of the book:

The Colorado River Compact is a 1922 agreement among seven US states (upper division: Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming; lower division: (Nevada, Arizona and California) in the basin of the Colorado River in the American Southwest governing the allocation of the water rights to the river’s water among the parties of the interstate compact. The agreement was signed at a meeting at Bishop’s Lodge, near Santa Fe, New Mexico, by representatives of the seven states the Colorado river and its tributaries pass through on the way to Mexico.

The compact requires the UpperBasin states not to deplete the flow of the river below 7,500,000 acre feet during any period of ten consecutive years. Based on rainfall patterns observed in the years before the treaty’s signing in 1922, the amount specified in the compact was assumed to allow a roughly equal division of water between the two regions. The states within each basin were required to divide their 7,500,000-acre foot per year share allotment among themselves. In addition to this, 1,500,000-acre-foot per year of Colorado River water is allocated to Mexico, pursuant to the treaty relating to the use of waters of the Colorado and Tijuana rivers and of the Rio Grande, signed February 3, 1944, and its supplementary protocol signed November 14, 1944.

The compact enabled the widespread irrigation of the Southwest, as well as the subsequent development of state and federal water works projects under the United States Bureau of Reclamation. Such projects included the Hoover Dam, Lake Mead and Lake Powell, the 1st and 2nd largest man-made reservoirs in the US.

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The headwaters of the Colorado River originate … in Colorado. This is the source.

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This commentary continues the 5-part series – this is 4 of 5 – on the subject of Lessons from Colorado. There are so many lessons that we must consider from this land-locked US State; good ones and bad ones. In fact, the full list of 5 entries are detailed as follows:

  1. Lessons from Colorado – Common Sense of Eco-Tourism
  2. Lessons from Colorado – Legalized Marijuana – Heavy-lifting!
  3. Lessons from Colorado – How the West Was Won
  4. Lessons from Colorado – Water Management Art & Science
  5. Lessons from Colorado – Black Ghost Towns – “Booker T. turning in his grave”

The book Go Lean…Caribbean calls for the elevation of Caribbean society, to re-focus, re-boot, and optimize all the societal engines (economics, security and governance) so as to make the Caribbean a better place to live, work and play.  Water is connected to each of these facets of society. The purpose of Water Management is to ensure that the supply of fresh, clean water is steady and inexpensive.

This is an art and a science.

There is even a designating color that is used to brand this science: Blue. This point was identified and qualified in a previous Go Lean commentary, entitled “Blue is the new Green“. There, it stated:

First we said to “Go Green!” Now we are saying to “Go Blue”, because Blue is the new Green. While ‘Green’ is motivated for all-things-environmental, ‘Blue’ refers specifically to Water Conservation.

There is money in Green; there is money in Blue too! The references to Blue waters apply equally to fresh water and seawater. When we consider all the waterscapes in the Caribbean, (1,063,000 square-miles of the Caribbean seas and thousands of islands in the archipelago – The Bahamas has over 700 alone), we realize how much opportunity exists.

There is the chance to get lucky; where luck is defined as the intersection of preparation and opportunity.

Considering all the opportunities, how can the Caribbean prepare its economic engines to harvest all the fruitage from these Blue market conditions? This is the theme of the book Go Lean…Caribbean, that the world is struggling to contend with monumental changes related to technology, globalization and most importantly Climate Change.

Early in the book, the pressing need to be aware of climate change is pronounced in the Declaration of Interdependence (Page 11), with these words, (the first of many “causes of complaints”):

    i. Whereas the earth’s climate has undeniably changed resulting in more severe tropical weather storms, it is necessary to prepare to insure the safety and security of life, property and systems of commerce in our geographical region. As nature recognizes no borders in the target of its destruction, we also must set aside border considerations in the preparation and response to these weather challenges.

The Caribbean needs Blue Technology solutions to sustain our own lives, liberties and systems of commerce. But the Go Lean book posits that we cannot just consume, we must also create, produce, and foster. So we must foster industrial solutions for the rest of the world. This foregoing [embedded] magazine article summary highlighted the progression in this new Blue Technology industry-space in these areas:

  • Sourcing
  • Treating
  • Storing
  • Conserving
  • Keeping it Clean

So a study of Colorado allows us, in the Caribbean, the opportunity to see Blue Technology solutions at work, in motion and at success in sustaining millions of lives and their dependent systems of commerce. A specific lesson from Colorado is that the responsible parties for the mastery of this “art and science” in Colorado is not Colorado, but rather the US Federal government agency referred to as the United States Bureau of Reclamation (USBR). This agency …

… oversees water resource management, specifically as it applies to the oversight and operation of the diversion, delivery, and storage projects that it has built throughout the western United States for irrigation, water supply, and attendant hydroelectric power generation. Currently the USBR is the largest wholesaler of water in the country, bringing water to more than 31 million people, and providing one in five Western farmers with irrigation water for 10 million acres of farmland, which produce 60% of the nation’s vegetables and 25% of its fruits and nuts. The USBR is also the second largest producer of hydroelectric power in the western United States.[4] – Source: Wikipedia.

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The book Go Lean…Caribbean – available to download for free – serves as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the technocratic Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU), for the elevation of Caribbean society – for all member-states. The CU would serve the Caribbean role of the USBR, the “new guards” of Caribbean Common Pool Resources; it would be staffed with water management professionals and scientists with the authority – vested by the CU treaty – to execute a master plan that facilitates water efficiencies in the region.

There are lives involved, as water is essential for life. There are also jobs involved, and societal efficiency. The lack of efficiency in the Caribbean status quo –  “push” and “pull” factors – is what is responsible for so much abandonment. (In fact, it has been reported that the professional classes of people in the region have abandoned their communities at a rate of 70 percent). So this CU/Go Lean roadmap seeks to reform and transform this bad trending; it has these 3 prime directives:

  • Optimization of the economic engines in order to grow the regional economy to $800 Billion and create 2.2 million new jobs.
  • Establishment of a security apparatus to ensure public safety and protect the resultant economic engines.
  • Improve Caribbean governance to support these engines, including a separation-of-powers between the member-states and CU federal agencies.

The book stresses that reforming and transforming the Caribbean societal engines must be a regional pursuit, at a federal level; (CU Federation = federal). This was an early motivation for the roadmap, as pronounced in the opening Declaration of Interdependence (Pages 12 – 13):

iii. Whereas the natural formation of the landmass for our society is that of an archipelago of islands, inherent to this nature is the limitation of terrain and the natural resources there in. We must therefore provide “new guards” and protections to ensure the efficient and effective management of these resources.

v. Whereas the natural formation of our landmass and coastlines entail a large portion of waterscapes, the reality of management of our interior calls for extended oversight of the waterways between the islands. The internationally accepted 12-mile limits for national borders must be extended by International Tribunals to encompass the areas in between islands. The individual states must maintain their 12-mile borders while the sovereignty of this expanded area, the Exclusive Economic Zone, must be vested in the accedence of this Federation.

vi. Whereas the finite nature of the landmass of our lands limits the populations and markets of commerce, by extending the bonds of brotherhood to our geographic neighbors allows for extended opportunities and better execution of the kinetics of our economies through trade. This regional focus must foster and promote diverse economic stimuli.

xi. Whereas all men are entitled to the benefits of good governance in a free society, “new guards” must be enacted to dissuade the emergence of incompetence, corruption, nepotism and cronyism at the peril of the people’s best interest. The Federation must guarantee the executions of a social contract between government and the governed.

xvi. Whereas security of our homeland is inextricably linked to prosperity of the homeland, the economic and security interest of the region needs to be aligned under the same governance. Since economic crimes … can imperil the functioning of the wheels of commerce for all the citizenry, the accedence of this Federation must equip the security apparatus with the tools and techniques for predictive and proactive interdictions.

xxiv. Whereas a free market economy can be induced and spurred for continuous progress, the Federation must install the controls to better manage aspects of the economy: jobs, inflation, savings rate, investments and other economic principles. Thereby attracting direct foreign investment because of the stability and vibrancy of our economy.

The Go Lean book provides 370-pages of turn-by-turn instructions on “how” to adopt new community ethos, plus the strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies to execute so as to reboot, reform and transform the societal engines of Caribbean society.

Water management is not just vital for basic needs – quenching thirsts – it is also needed to advance the economy. Resorts (tourism) and factories alike, all depend on good water management. Imagine:

As previously detailed, water resources are not cheap. It is only free when it rains. The effort to source, treat, store, conserve and keep water clean takes a big investment on the part of community and governmental institutions.

Thank you Colorado – and your management of this principal river of the Southwestern United States and northern Mexico (the other one is the Rio Grande). This 1,450-mile-long river is the hardest working river in North America, as it sustains an arid watershed – (the western US states are considered desert wilderness) – that encompasses parts of 7 US States and 2 Mexican States (Sonora and Baja California). This great river gets its start in the central Rocky Mountains, in the heart of Colorado. See this VIDEO here:

VIDEO – Colorado River – I Am Red – https://youtu.be/mqYcC7jEe44

Published on Apr 16, 2013 – The Colorado River is a lifeline in the desert, its water sustaining tens of millions of people in seven states, as well as endangered fish and wildlife. However, demand on the river’s water now exceeds its supply, leaving the river so over-tapped that it no longer flows to the sea. (Video by Pete McBride. Flights by Lighthawk, Ecoflight.)

Learn more and be part of the solution: www.AmericanRivers.org/Colorado

Colorado is showing us in the Caribbean how hard work pays off; (all photos in this commentary here are from Colorado, and not the Caribbean, despite any leanings). We now know where we can find “best practices” to model effective and efficient water management. The successful application of this lesson from Colorado can help us to make our Caribbean homelands and waterways better places to live, work and play. 🙂

Download the free e-Book of Go Lean … Caribbean – now!

Sign the petition to lean-in for this roadmap for the Caribbean Union Trade Federation.

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