Opinion: Review-Journal’s Feb. 15 Editorial on Federal Intervention to Solve Colorado River Crisis Contains Many Inaccuracies

The Review-Journal’s Feb. 15 editorial promoting federal intervention to solve the Colorado River crisis contains many inaccuracies.

Let’s start with the inference that a six-state proposal is an actual “accord,” lacking only California’s acquiescence. It is not. A “consensus” solution based primarily on reducing the entitlements of water users not involved in the discussions, or in concurrence with the final proposal  and namely the most senior water right priority tribes, lower Colorado River agricultural water users, California contractors and Mexico  is not consensus or an implementable solution to the crisis.

Lake Powell Continues to Disappear as Colorado Hits Pause on Plan to Prop Up Levels

The Glen Canyon Dam may be one step closer to losing its ability to generate hydropower after water managers in Colorado announced last week that they will stop exploring one proposal to prop up the rapidly depleting levels in Lake Powell.

The plan — known as demand management — would compensate farmers and ranchers for voluntarily stopping irrigation on a temporary basis, sending water that would have been used for agriculture to the reservoir.

Lake Powell’s Levels Projected to Drop Below Critical Threshold

Lake Powell’s water levels are on the cusp of dropping below a critical benchmark and federal officials don’t expect the reservoir’s supply to be replenished until May.

As of Thursday, the lake’s levels were hovering inches above 3,525 feet, which is the threshold local officials set as the “target elevation” while drafting the 2019 Drought Contingency Plan Agreements.

California, Arizona and Nevada in Talks on New Plan to Save Colorado River Water

Two and a half years after signing a deal aimed at averting a damaging crisis along the Colorado River, water officials from California, Arizona and Nevada are discussing plans to take even less water from the shrinking river and leave it in Lake Mead in an effort to prevent the reservoir from falling to dangerously low levels.

Representatives of water agencies from the three states said they are firming up the details of a deal that would leave an additional 500,000 acre-feet of water in the reservoir next year, and the same amount again in 2023 — about double the quantity of water used annually by Las Vegas and the rest of southern Nevada.

Opinion: It Could Take At Least 500,000 Acre-Feet of Water a Year to Keep Lake Mead from Tanking

Arizona, California and Nevada are moving forward with a plan to save another 500,000 acre-feet of water in Lake Mead annually until 2026.

We’re talking 500,000 acre-feet over and above the mandatory cuts that are spelled out in the 2019 Drought Contingency Plan (DCP). Each year. For five years. Just to keep the lake from tanking. That’s a significant amount of water. That required a significant bit of negotiation.

The so-called “500-plus plan” is the result of a provision within DCP that required the Lower Basin states to “consult and determine what additional measures will be taken” to keep the lake from falling to a dangerously low elevation of 1,020 feet.

Opinion: the Colorado River Drought Contingency Plan Is No Longer a Contingency

If you live in Colorado—you get it. We don’t quit when challenged. Whether you live in a city, on a farm or ranch, in a rural town, or somewhere in between—you are part of the dynamic group of people who call Colorado home; people who understand when it comes to protecting Colorado water, specifically the Colorado River’s water, we must rise together to meet the challenge.


From its headwaters in the Rocky Mountains, the Colorado River flows broadly across 1,450 miles of the southwestern United States, changing elevation by a remarkable 10,000 feet. More than 40 million people rely on the Colorado, the nation’s fifth-longest river, for drinking water and energy through hydroelectric power. In addition, the river supports an estimated $25 billion recreational economy and an agricultural economy of about $1.4 trillion a year.

Opinion: Will the Drought Contingency Plan Be Enough to Save Lake Mead? Maybe – For Now

Lake Mead is disappearing. It has already fallen more than 146 feet since 2000.

Last week the Bureau of Reclamation forecast that it will likely drop another 42 feet in the next five years, drawing the lake surface down to a level barely sufficient to generate power and release water for downstream water users in California and Arizona.

Opinion: We Are Just 5 Feet Away From the Possibility of Deeper Water Cuts to Save Lake Mead

This is escalating quickly.

The July 24-month study for the Colorado River reservoir system is skirting dangerously close to what might be considered a doomsday provision within the Drought Contingency Plan.

If Lake Mead is projected to fall below 1,030 feet any time within two years, the plan states, Arizona, California and Nevada must reconvene to decide what additional steps they will take to keep Mead from falling below 1,020 feet – an elevation that many consider the crash point. The next milestone below that is “dead pool,” where no water leaves the lake.

Another Dry Year on the Colorado River Could Force States, Feds Back to Negotiating Table

Colorado River water managers could be pulled back to the negotiating table as soon as next year to keep its biggest reservoirs from declining further.

The 2019 Drought Contingency Plan was meant to give the U.S. and Mexican states that depend on the river a roadmap to manage water shortages. That plan requires the river’s biggest reservoir, Lake Mead, to drop to unprecedented levels before conservation among all the lower basin states — Arizona, Nevada and California — becomes mandatory. California isn’t required to conserve water in the reservoir until it drops to an elevation of 1,045 feet above sea level.

Here’s how Arizona is Preparing for 1st Cuts to Colorado River Allocation

Arizona is gearing up for the first-ever “Tier 1” shortage on the Colorado River in 2022, which will trigger significant cuts to the state’s annual allocation from its most important water resource. As daunting as it sounds, the vast majority of citizens and businesses will not be affected, state water leaders said during a Colorado River Preparedness briefing last week.