Colorado rivers set for replenishment thanks to new planning
There are several steps being taken to replenish the Colorado Rivers. The Bureau of Reclamation has warned that this will require transferring water from other sources. The steps being taken will be discussed in this article. In addition to the compact, other steps being taken include water transfers and marketing. Here are some of the most important ones. You should read this article carefully. It will answer any questions you might have about this issue.
Colorado River Compact
The Upper and Lower Basins share an estimated 75 million acre-feet of water each. If the Colorado River Compact is not met, the Upper Basin may lose this water supply. States in the Upper Basin plan to reduce their water use and deliver this water to the Lower Basin. But that plan also includes plans for new diversion projects and dams. These new projects could divert river supplies from other users.
The Upper Basin states are already required by the Compact to reduce their Colorado River water use by 18 percent by 2022. Water managers are concerned about dwindling supplies and are working to nearly double their conservation rates. Water managers are hoping that voluntary conservation efforts will help stem the rapid decline of reservoirs. They are meeting this year to announce the water use reduction. At that point, the Colorado River will be eighteen percent below full capacity.
Filling Lake Mead First
Several proposals have been floated recently to replenish the Colorado Rivers, including one aimed at filling Lake Mead first. This proposal would divert water from Lake Powell to Lake Mead, which is not large enough to maintain the same water level in both reservoirs. The process would take place in three stages, allowing the river to flow freely through the Grand Canyon and Glen Canyon.
The plan to fill Lake Mead first has been around for years, but the idea of a lake being filled first is a realistic one. This is because the lake has been steadily draining due to a decades-long drought. As a result, the federal and state government is trying to secure its water supply to meet the growing needs of the region’s 40 million residents. The emergence of an intake valve at Lake Mead is a warning that the reservoir could be in trouble.
The environmental water transfer program is a new model for water rights in the western United States. Based on existing research, it assesses the water rights and laws of each Colorado River Basin state to see how far they’ve progressed in promoting environmental water transfers. For example, Arizona’s laws and regulations don’t protect environmental water rights, a key obstacle to implementing environmental water transfers. Similarly, Oregon and Washington have been more progressive in their environmental water transfers policies.
However, Colorado’s environmental water transfer programs are largely undeveloped.
However, the environmental benefits of water transfers are more than just economic. They also help restore the health of the Colorado Rivers and the West’s water resources. As a result, environmental water transfers are an important policy tool for restoring streams and rivers. Landowners who own water rights are legally protected to use that water for environmental purposes. Water transfers are also beneficial to the environment, as they help restore flows and provide an alternative revenue source for water right holders.
In order to ensure a healthy and sustainable river system, Colorado businesses are taking note of water resources. Increasing population and climate change are stressing the state’s water systems. Earlier this year, record-low water levels made national news. In response, there was a declaration on a Colorado River basin water shortage. The outdated water policies have led to a wasteful use of resources.
The higher ups have played a heavy hand in the division of water during generations one and two, but market forces are expected to take a more prominent role during the anticipated third generation.
In 1994, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (BuRec) released draft regulations that allowed intrastate transfers of Colorado River water. Arizona objected to the regulations, and BuRec backed off to allow the states to come up with their own water banking plans. Since then, the Bureau has revised the regulations and may allow states to transfer water to each other.
However, in order for these water markets to succeed, the state division of the Lower Basin states will have to make a decision soon. As water reserves are a more challenging concept these days even with technological advances in filtration.
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Provided by Antonio Westley
Disclaimer: This article is meant to be seen as an overview of this subject and not a reflection of viewpoints or opinions as nothing is definitive. So, make sure to do your research and feel free to use this information at your own discretion.