Water Flowing, Again, in the Colorado River Delta

Forgotten in all of the noise around the Colorado River right now is this moment of hope – water again flowing in the Colorado River Delta. Under the 2017 agreement between the United States and Mexico known as Minute 323, we have 210,000 acre feet of water set aside for environmental flows through 2026 – …

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Kuhn-Tara-Fleck on what comes next – the foundations of the Law of the Colorado River, shaky heading into the post-2026 world

ALAMOSA, COLORADO – Meandering toward Boulder for this week’s Getches-Wilkinson Center Colorado River conference, I stopped this evening in Alamosa, Colorado, in the San Luis Valley. I love the drive up the back way, through the San Luis Valley and into the heart of the Rockies, and I split it up into a couple of …

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Horse Trading in the negotiation of the 1948 Upper Colorado River Basin Compact (and its implications today)

There was deep tension in Cheyenne, Wyoming, in September 1947 as the negotiators for the Upper Colorado River Basin states gathered to try to hammer out a deal to divvy up their share of the Colorado’s water. The 1922 Compact had split the river in two at Lee Ferry, and left for later the question …

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End of Season Wrap-Up – Holding on to What We’ve Got

A guest post by Jack Schmidt, director of the Center for Colorado River Studies at Utah State University By Jack Schmidt | May 22, 2024 Opportunities to rebuild basin-wide reservoir storage have been rare in the 21st century. On April 3 2024, the snow accumulation season in the Colorado River watershed ended and the snow …

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New Colorado River Guidelines are Only the Beginning

Much attention is focused right now on rewriting Colorado River operating rules, to replace the soon-to-expire 2007 reservoir operating guidelines. But there is a growing frustration that the struggle to solve that relatively narrow problem “mass balance” problem (how much water, and where?) leaves out a range of incredibly important issues: If a reminder of …

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Game theory on the Colorado River: The prisoner’s dilemma

All of the controversy relative to the utilization of the Colorado is hampering the fullest development of the stream. As Governor Pittman said, it is impossible to plan ahead with any assurance when there is such conflict. Solution of all these differences is admittedly not easy. The economic and social future of the various Colorado …

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What Happens if there is no Agreement on Post-2026 Colorado River Operations?

By Eric Kuhn Given how far apart the competing proposals from the Colorado River Upper and Lower Division States are, a legitimate question is – “what happens if we get to the summer of 2026 and there is still no agreement on the post-2026 operational guidelines?” Well, believe it or not, that is a question …

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Five Major Proposals for Post-2026 management of the Colorado River

With the submission of two additional proposals last week, we now have five major proposals for post-2026 Colorado River management. The folks at the Water and Tribes Intitiative have helpfully organized them in a single place. (Click on the “Proposed Alternatives for Post-2026 Operating Guidelines” bubble.) Tribal Principles A set of guiding principles proposed by …

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New Mexico and the Colorado River

  A guest post from my Utton Center colleague and Colorado River research collaborator Rin Tara, staff attorney and water policy and governance analyst at the Utton Center, University of New Mexico School of Law. By Rin Tara Over the last year, I had the joy of working with John on a law review article …

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Counseling patience on the current Colorado River kerfuffles

Despite the Sturm und Drang of last week’s competing proposals to the federal government for managing drought and climate change on the Colorado River, there’s a lot to be hopeful about. On their faces, the Upper Basin and Lower Basin proposals have a lot of “Water’s for fighting over after all!” vibe. But if you …

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