Dear Readers A
s drought conditions in the Colorado River Basin stretch into a 16th
year, the scarcity of water today is no longer the focal point of river opera- tions. Instead the principal goal of water managers at the federal and state levels is addressing how much water will be available in the future from the “lifeline of the Southwest.”
Already serving some 40 million people and irrigating 4 million acres of farmland, the river’s reliability is a bigger challenge than ever considering that urban growth is expected to increase demands while climate change will reduce supplies – supplies that already are less than what was allocated under the 1922 Colorado River Compact. In the Summer issue of River Report, Writer Gary Pitzer wrote about how the states in the Lower Basin (Arizona, California and Nevada) are working to develop a Drought Contin¬gency Plan overlay to help alleviate impacts from a projected shortage declaration.
In this issue, Gary discusses the Drought Contingency Plan being developed by the Upper Basin states. For Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming, there has long been knowledge of a water “shortage” – a gap between what they can reliably develop and use given their obligation to the Lower Basin. Te problem is the amount of water allocated to them nearly 95 years ago during a wet period on the Colorado River does not match the reality of to- day. Tus Upper Basin officials are working on a plan to help ensure sustain- ability.
In the meantime, we are planning our Lower Colorado River Tour April 5-7. You can check out the details and register at www.watereducation.org/
– Sue McClurg
Colorado River Project Advisory Members Michael Cohen, Te Pacific Institute John Entsminger, Southern Nevada Water Authority Amy Haas, New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission Robert Johnson, Water Strategies Jeff Kightlinger, MWD of Southern California James Lochhead, Denver Water Don Ostler, Upper Colorado River Commission Jennifer Pitt, National Audubon Society Stanley M. Pollack, Navajo Nation Department of Justice Maureen Stapleton, San Diego County Water Authority Tanya Trujillo, Colorado River Board of California Gary Weatherford, California Public Utilities Commission
River Report is a project of the Water Education Foundation
Writer Gary Pitzer
Editors Jennifer Bowles Sue McClurg
Editorial Assistant Vanessa Morganstern
Photos Bureau of Reclamation Dave Diegelman Kane County Water Conservancy District
Sue McClurg Kent Nelson Visit Denver
Graphics and Layout Curt Leipold, Graphic Communications
Te Water Education Foundation thanks all the sources and experts who reviewed this newsletter for balance and accuracy.
Te mission of the Water Education Foundation, an impartial, nonprofit organization, is to create a better under- standing of water resources and foster public understanding and resolution of water resource issues through facilitation, education and outreach.
Water Education Foundation 1401 21st
Street, Suite 200
Sacramento, CA 95811 (916) 444-6240 fax (916) 448-7699 www.watereducation.org
President Robert W. Johnson
Executive Director Jennifer Bowles
2 • Colorado River Project • River Report • Winter 2016-2017
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