Helpful piece by Luke Runyon on steps toward accounting for Lower Colorado River evaporation and riparian system losses.
During a September Colorado River symposium held in Santa Fe, both Interior Department Secretary Deb Haaland and Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Camille Calimlim Touton told attendees that the issue of evaporation and transit loss in the Lower Colorado River Basin were short-term priorities for their respective agencies.
Key bit – timing:
They are giving states until the end of 2024 to prepare for what would amount to a significant cut in annual water allocations to users in Nevada, California and Arizona.
I have my talking points:
“It would be a huge change in how water is administered in the lower Colorado River,” Fleck said. “The states, especially California and Arizona, had come to depend on really big allotments that were only possible because we ignored the laws of physics and didn’t account for evaporation and system losses….”
“The underlying problem is that the water users in the Lower Basin have refused to step forward and save themselves by coming up with a plan to reduce their own use,” he said. “So we look for some tool that the federal government could use to force them to save themselves. And accounting for evaporation and system losses has always been hanging out there because it’s just nuts that we don’t do this.”