Wednesday July 20, 2022

Colorado Public Radio

Colorado and the states that make up the upper half of the Colorado River basin have submitted a two-page proposal on how they will reduce their use of the river. 

The five-point plan does not include any mandatory cuts to water usage in the upper basin.

The plan is in response to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s recent demand that the seven states that share the river must act quickly to reduce their water consumption dramatically. The federal agency’s demand that states come up with a plan by August to reduce usage by 2 to 4 million acre-feet of water to save the country’s two largest reservoirs, Lake Powell and Lake Mead, which have both hit record-low levels amid decades of drought and climate change.

In a letter to Reclamation Commissioner Camille Touton, water managers in the upper-basin states — Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming — agreed that all the states need to work together to restore balance to the river system, which millions of people across the West rely on for water supplies and hydropower. However, the upper-basin states say their options for helping protect the crucial reservoirs downstream are “limited.”

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