Colorado River Basin

News from the Colorado River Basin region, covering about 246,000 square miles, including parts of the seven basin states of Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming, plus Mexico.

Long term drought and dwindling Colorado River supplies have Phoenix urgently pursuing highly treated recycled sewage as a drinking water supply. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Colorado River Shortages Drive Major Advances in Recycled Sewage Water Use

After more than two decades of drought, water utilities serving the largest urban regions in the arid Southwest are embracing a drought-proof source of drinking water long considered a supply of last resort: purified sewage. Water supplies have tightened to the point that Phoenix and the water supplier for 19 million Southern California residents are […]

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Next Steps to Protect Stability and Sustainability of Colorado River Basin

The Biden-Harris administration October 25 announced next steps in the efforts to protect the stability and sustainability of the Colorado River System and strengthen water security in the West. The Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation released a revised draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) as part of the ongoing, collaborative effort to update the […]

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Bureau of Reclamation Advances Long-Term Planning Efforts to Protect the Colorado River System

The Biden-Harris administration October 19 announced next steps in the formal process to develop future operating guidelines and strategies to protect the stability and sustainability of the Colorado River system and strengthen water security in the West. The guidelines under development would be implemented in 2027, replacing the 2007 Colorado River Interim Guidelines for Lower […]

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Reclamation Announces 2024 Operating Conditions for Lake Powell and Lake Mead

The Bureau of Reclamation on August 15, released the Colorado River Basin August 2023 24-Month Study, which determines the tiers for the coordinated operation of Lake Powell and Lake Mead for 2024. These operating conditions, which are based on existing agreements under the 2007 guidelines and lower basin Drought Contingency Plans, will be in effect […]

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Above-Average Snowpack Will Raise Lake Mead, Buy Time for Collaboration

A federal report released April 20 says near-record snowpack in the Colorado River Basin could raise the elevation of Lake Mead by more than 20 feet by the end of the year, providing a critical opportunity for water agencies to improve long-term management of the river. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s report shows vastly improved […]

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Water Authority Supports Talks on Fed Draft Colorado River Proposal

The San Diego County Water Authority supports a consensus-based approach for long-term solutions to water supply issues in the Colorado River Basin. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation on April 11 released a draft environmental document that considers changes to near-term operations on the Colorado River, including potential reductions in water supplies for California and across […]

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Is the San Diego-Imperial Model Part of the Solution for Colorado River Woes?

In a sense, the record string of storms that hit California created two lakes — one real and one hypothetical. The deluges re-established Tulare Lake, once the largest lake west of the Mississippi River that was drained long ago for agriculture and municipal water demands.

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San Diego County Water Authority Hosts Colorado River Board of California

The San Diego County Water Authority will host water leaders from throughout Southern California March 15 for the monthly meeting of the Colorado River Board of California. On March 14, before the formal meeting, CRB board members will tour projects in the region that promote water resiliency. The CRB will consider the complex water supply […]

Jim Madaffer-Vice Chair Colorado River Board of California-Colorado River

California Water Agencies Submit Colorado River Modeling Framework to Bureau of Reclamation

California water agencies that rely on the Colorado River on January 31, proposed a modeling framework for the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to evaluate as it considers actions to help stabilize reservoir elevations and protect critical infrastructure to ensure the Colorado River system can continue to support 40 million people, nearly 6 million acres of […]

Jim Madaffer-Vice Chair-Colorado River Board-Colorado River Board of California

Director Jim Madaffer Elected Vice Chair of the Colorado River Board of California

San Diego County Water Authority Board Member Jim Madaffer has been elected vice chair of the Colorado River Board of California. The CRB represents California in river management discussions with other Basin states, federal agencies, tribes, and Mexico. Madaffer, the Water Authority’s CRB representative since 2019, will serve a four-year term as vice chair following […]

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Colorado River Compact: As Colorado River Flows Drop and Tensions Rise, Water Interests Struggle to Find Solutions That All Can Accept

When the Colorado River Compact was signed 100 years ago, the negotiators for seven Western states bet that the river they were dividing would have ample water to meet everyone’s needs – even those not seated around the table. A century later, it’s clear the water they bet on is not there. More than two […]

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Water Agencies Unite and Commit to Reducing Demands on Colorado River

Recognizing that a reliable water supply is critical to all economies and communities relying on the drought-stricken Colorado River Basin, more than 30 water agencies and providers have committed to take additional actions to reducing water demands and helping protect the Colorado River system. Through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that was delivered to the […]

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Collaboration Key to Stabilizing Colorado River Basin Decline

Collaboration among all water users is key to developing solutions for the Colorado River Basin, which is in the midst of a 22-year megadrought. That was one of the common themes during a webinar Thursday, in which water managers and other officials discussed ways to slow or stabilize the rate of decline of the major […]

Drought and Water Supply: A Year in Review

Drought and water supply in the Southwest U.S. dominated the water news in 2021, from the Colorado River Basin to California. COVID-19 continued its grasp on all aspects of life in 2021. Even in the face of the pandemic, the work of providing water as an essential service continued for every agency with the responsibility […]

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Water Authority Offers Help to Regions in Need During Drought

The San Diego County Water Authority’s Board of Directors April 22 authorized staff to explore opportunities to help other water districts weather an emerging drought across California. Three decades of investments in supply reliability, along with a continued emphasis on water-use efficiency, mean the San Diego region has sufficient water supplies for multiple dry years. […]