Dipping more drinking straws into the Colorado River

When it comes to water, we westerners seem to be a distrustful lot:

Water politics in Colorado and in western Wyoming have long been driven by this one, nagging fear: that California was getting something to which it was not entitled – and might get accustomed to it. Squatter rights, if you will, bolstered by a huge population advantage. Million still plays that card. “If the water users of Wyoming decide they don’t want to access their water, then that’s their decision – and California, Arizona and Nevada will continue to benefit,” he says.

Stacy Tellinghuisen, water and energy analyst for Western Resource Advocates, says she believes proposals for pipelines at Flaming Gorge, Lake Powell and Las Vegas are all driven by a new realization of limits. “The thinking is that if we develop this now, if there is a shortage in the future, we will still have this water,” she says.

That’s from Allen Best’s sweeping look at proposals by entrepreneur Aaron Million and others to siphon off some more water from Flaming Gorge. Beyond the narrow point I’ve selected, the piece richly rewards. If you’re interested in western water, I recommend giving it a click and a few minutes of your time.


  1. …and California (MET, in particular) claimed that its use over 4.4 maf would “perfect” extra rights. The 1963 SCOTUS decisions put paid to that fantasy, but not the general idea…

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