Race is on for Colorado River basin states to conserve before feds take action | SummitDaily.com
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Race is on for Colorado River basin states to conserve before feds take action

Colorado’s contribution to keep system from crashing remains unclear

Heather Sackett
Aspen Journalism
Houseboats on Lake Powell on Dec. 13, 2021, near Wahweap Marina, where the quarter-mile-long boat ramp is unusable due to low water levels. Federal officials have threatened unilateral actions to prop up levels in the nation’s largest reservoirs and protect the Colorado River System.
Heather Sackett/Aspen Journalism

BOULDER — As water experts gathered this week for an annual conference in Boulder, it was with the sobering knowledge that despite everything they have done so far, it is still not enough to keep the Colorado River system from crashing.

Federal officials this week made the earth-shaking announcement that the seven basin states must quickly conserve an enormous amount of water and threatened unilateral action if they do not. U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Camille Touton, testifying at a U.S. Senate hearing on drought on Tuesday, said an additional 2 to 4 million acre-feet of conservation was needed just to protect critical reservoir levels in 2023.

Department of Interior Assistant Secretary for Water and Science Tanya Trujillo reiterated this position in a talk at Thursday’s Conference on Natural Resources at the University of Colorado Law School. She said the federal government has the responsibility and authority to take action to protect the system and the infrastructure if the states can’t reach an agreement on their own.



“We are facing the growing reality that water supplies for agriculture, fisheries, ecosystems, industry and cities are no longer stable due to climate change,” Trujillo said. “Our collective goal is to be able to very quickly identify and implement strategies that will stabilize and rebuild the system so we don’t find ourselves constantly on the brink of a crisis.”

Read more at AspenJournalism.org.


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