Upper Basin officials see California proposal to conserve Colorado River water as a positive sign — even if it’s not enough | SummitDaily.com
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Upper Basin officials see California proposal to conserve Colorado River water as a positive sign — even if it’s not enough

California water agencies sent a letter Wednesday to the U.S. Department of Interior proposing to conserve about one-tenth of its Colorado River use

Chris Outcalt
The Colorado Sun
The Colorado River flows along Interstate 70 inside Glenwood Canyon on Aug. 13, 2021, near Glenwood Springs.
Hugh Carey/The Colorado Sun

California water agencies that use Colorado River water indicated Wednesday they’d be willing to cut 400,000 acre-feet of water use annually starting next year and running through 2025 — a move a top Upper Basin water official cast as a promising development in the negotiations over the future of the river.

“All in all, it appears to be an encouraging first step,” said Chuck Cullom, executive director of the Upper Colorado River Commission, an interstate agency that manages water in the Upper Basin states of Colorado, Wyoming, Utah and New Mexico. 

The California water users outlined their new position in a letter sent Wednesday to the U.S. Department of Interior. “This water, which would otherwise be used by California’s communities and farms, will meaningfully contribute to stabilizing the Colorado River reservoir system,” the water agencies wrote in the letter. 



A 400,000 acre-feet reduction in an annual use by California equates to about one-tenth of the state’s overall Colorado River supply.

In June, Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Camille Touton called for 2 million to 4 million acre-feet in cuts in Colorado River use by the end of next year to prevent the system from reaching “critically low water levels.” The system supplies water and generates electricity for millions of users across the West.



Read more at ColoradoSun.com.


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