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alternative plan that “properly accounts for current and future water demands, reasonable water conservation, aggres- sive reuse, and more agricultural water transfers.” Pipeline advocates say the project is


necessary to ensure a stable source of water for southwest Utah. St. George “has done a great job of


conserving,” reducing per capita water use by 25 percent, said Millis, adding that the state is pushing its residents to achieve a 35 percent reduction as a condition of the project. However, “they will need another source of water and [the] Lake Powell pipeline looks like a good way to provide that water.”


Allocation vs. Demand Te 1922 Colorado River Compact ap- portioned 7.5 million acre-feet per year of beneficial consumptive use from the Colorado River system in the Upper Basin in perpetuity. Te 1948 Upper Colorado River Basin Compact further apportioned the water available for use each year in the Upper Basin under the Colorado River Compact to the Upper Division States which include Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming on a percentage basis. Arizona, which has a small portion of lands in the Upper Basin, was authorized 50,000 acre-feet of consumptive use per year in the Upper Basin. Te vast majority of the storage in


the Upper Basin is in Lake Powell (26.2 million acre-feet) which sits below the Upper Basin water users. Much smaller storage reservoirs are available to some water users in the Upper Basin, but many others do not have the benefit of storage and rely entirely upon the natu- ral runoff from the tributaries for their supply. Because of these circumstances and the variable precipitation across this large basin, shortage occurs somewhere in the Upper Basin every year. Tis situ- ation is often referred to as a hydrologic shortage. Power generation at Glen Canyon


Dam is crucial because of the role it plays in helping to pay for the Upper Colorado River Endangered Fish Recov-


“From my perspective I would say there is not water to develop. If there is, it’s not going to be available often enough to justify the investment required to develop it. We are better off figuring out how we live within our


existing means.” – Aaron Derwingson,


The Nature Conservancy


ery Program, San Juan River Endangered Fish Recovery Program, Salinity Control Program, Grand Canyon Monitoring and Research Program and the opera- tion and maintenance of all Colorado River Storage Project facilities. Te hydroelectric power is a low-cost source of electricity to power users throughout the West and plays an important role in restarting the western power grid in the event of a regional power failure. Te key elevation for Lake Powell is 3,490 feet above sea level, the water elevation necessary to produce hydro- electric power, which contributes $120 million in annual revenue. “Due to unknown effects of cavitation when operating the generators at that level, the Upper Division states, in consulta- tion with Reclamation, have chosen the elevation of 3,525 feet as the safe elevation to protect power production,” Ostler said. Te 16-year drought has taken its toll on Lake Powell and Lake Mead. In 2005 storage in Lake Powell dropped to 33 percent of capacity, setting off alarm bells and the potential for an Up- per Basin-Lower Basin showdown over Compact compliance. Federal prodding led the states to craft and sign the 2007 Interim Guidelines agreement. Te In- terim Guidelines are limited in duration, extending through 2026. Te Upper Basin states are developing additional measures to protect Lake Powell from hitting critical low-reservoir elevations


6 • Colorado river ProjeCt • river rePort • Winter 2016-2017


when the Interim Guidelines actions are not enough. “When we want to provide additional water in Lake Powell to avoid criti- cal low elevations and all the adverse consequences that go along with them we can’t just snap our fingers and have it happen instantly,” Ostler said. “We have to anticipate when we are going to hit those low reservoir conditions and then we have to establish the transfer of stor- age or conservation that could occur and it might require a fair amount of lead time to accomplish.” Furthermore, should hydrologic conditions change, making the extra water not needed, it can’t be recovered for upstream Upper Basin users as it could in Lake Mead for Lower Basin conservation.


Te cooperation among the Upper


Basin states is reflected by their many interstate river compacts – compacts that many say show how it is more accepted to share the river as a way of life and good water management. . Tere is not an interstate river com-


pact between the Lower Basin states. Instead, the Arizona v. California case settled by the Supreme Court in 1964 manifested the decades of conflict be- tween two of the Lower Basin states over rights to the Colorado River. Te court essentially established a priority system in which Arizona’s water rights under a potential shortage would be the focus of the first cutbacks. In the Upper Basin, the evolution of the 1948 Compact meant a different line of development for these four states.. Changing conditions, however, have


created a different expectation for water supplies in the Upper Basin, where slower development compared to the Lower Basin has allowed for more plan- ning. As part of a water rights settlement for the Navajo Nation, the secretary of the Interior had to make a hydro- logic determination of the amount of consumptive use available to the Upper Basin and in 2007 that figure was found “reasonably likely” to be 5.76 million acre-feet annually, said Kevin Flanigan


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