In the next round of Colorado River negotiations, who will be at the table?

From a fun Q & A I did recently with Tara Lohan at The Revelator:

One of the biggest difficulties is figuring out who gets to participate — who’s in the room when these deals are negotiated. And it’s just not at all clear what the process is going to look like for renegotiating guidelines.

We’ve clearly reached a point where we need to expand the notion of who gets to be a stakeholder. There’s this sort of rigid hierarchy where states get to be at the table and states then get to sometimes be represented by — or inclusive of — their big water users. But who is the person at the table representing air quality and poor people in Imperial Valley? Or who gets to be at the table representing tribes, especially tribes that have a lot of water rights, have a lot of legal and moral entitlement, but don’t have a lot of financial capacity for participation?

I don’t know the answer to this, but this is something I’ve been thinking about a lot. We don’t really know what the process is going to look like.

I said other things as well, including some stuff about what Eric Kuhn and I are working on right now – in the new book and beyond it, thinking about the way our misuse of scientist left huge unresolved issues in the fabric of the Law of the River.


  1. Politics on the River and the political structure of Federal, State, and local entities often preclude issues of social justice; and yes Bob would be good at hearding cats. Agreed that process should be more open and inclusive. For example I would like to attend the Colorado River Management Work Group meetings, but the Law of the River ( I believe) states that Reclamation needs only consult with the seven Basin states. And since I’m not a representative of a state, it’s debatable if I could attend although I would have plenty to contribute. The states make suggestions to language in the Annual Operating Plan but in the end the Federal solicitor will decide if language is acceptable.

  2. Water issues in the West have moved past
    Historical patterns and problems
    Quite obviously long term drought has not
    Been addressed
    The paradigm shift now is to free market
    Dynamics. Which is the solution—not more
    Government rules and regulations
    Mother Nature respects actions not endless
    Real solutions in real time is the new dynamic
    Rationing and shortages will inflict severe damages on the complacent
    Price has always been the most efficient allocator
    Of a scarce resource
    Everything is changed. Worst case planning must
    Be given full consideration
    Like the 100 year flood- now we have 100 year
    Plan on it. Or face severe consequences

    Everyone is aware this reality has been
    Delinquent. Good Luck

Comments are closed.