Dear Readers D
uring the past 15 years of record drought, Colorado River Basin
users have made major strides to cope with declining supplies. But investments in everything from installation of drip irrigation systems to construction of new projects to tap recycled water have cost billions of dollars. Southern Nevada Water Authority, for example, spent more than $800 million on a third intake into Lake Mead.
More funding will be needed as the Basin learns to live within the new normal. Te Bureau of Reclamation’s 2012 Colorado River Basin Water Supply and Demand Study predicts that reduced supply and increased demands could result in a 3.2 million acre-feet gap by 2060. Te study further found that between $2 billion and $4 billion of additional investment will be needed annually to shore up some of the vulnerabilities that were identified.
Where to find that money is the big question; innovative approaches will be needed. In this River Report, we are summarizing the discussion among panelists on the financing panel at the September 2015 Colorado River Symposium. Tat’s a meeting where invited stakeholders hold frank discussions about the future of the river. As Gary Pitzer notes in the article, there is increased interest in private investment in specific projects. Funds from the federal and state governments are seen as the best way to finance system-wide programs. As for the customers, there is no doubt they will need to help finance a more reliable supply of water. •
– 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 Susan Lauer
Photos Sue McClurg City of Phoenix Southern Nevada Water Authority Alexander Stephens, Bureau of Reclamation
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 William R. Mills
Executive Director Jennifer Bowles
2 • Colorado River Project • River Report • Winter 2015-2016
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