Imperial Irrigation District (IID) General Manager Henry Martinez issued a statement Monday, May 22, commenting on the announcement made earlier today by the Colorado River Board of California regarding the submission of a Lower Basin Plan to Reclamation for analysis by representatives of the seven Colorado River Basin States. The Lower Basin Plan proposes to conserve 3 million acre-feet of Colorado River water through 2026, with at least 1.5 million acre-feet of that total being conserved by the end of calendar year 2024.
A Nevada water agency has taken the first concrete step toward accounting for evaporation and other losses in the Colorado River’s Lower Basin. The new analysis attempts to pinpoint exactly how much water is lost, and who should cut back to bring the system closer to a balance between supply and demand. An analysis compiled by the Southern Nevada Water Authority estimates the total amount of water lost in the river’s lower reaches. If implemented in its current form, the proposal would translate to significant cutbacks for users in Nevada, Arizona and California.
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.