Does the Upper Colorado River Basin Routinely Take Shortages in Dry Years?

By John Fleck, Eric Kuhn, and Jack Schmidt As stakeholders negotiate the current crisis on the Colorado River, we believe the representatives of the states of the Upper Basin – our states – are making a dangerous argument. Their premise is simple. With deep cutbacks needed, the Upper Basin states argue that their part of …

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The poets down here don’t write nothin’ at all, they just stand back and let it all be.

Colorado has no plans to make additional cuts to water use next year to meet the Bureau of Reclamation’s demand to conserve millions of acre-feet of water, a step needed to preserve power production in Lake Powell and Lake Mead. Instead, Colorado officials insist that other states should do the cutting. “I think that at …

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With Eric Kuhn’s help, I found a (nearly) full Colorado River Basin reservoir!

When Eric and I converge on a meeting, there’s always the “Are you gonna bring a bike?” conversation. This week it’s the Getches-Wilkinson Center’s Annual Colorado River conference, and the bike ride was a loop around Denver Water’s Dillon Reservoir, on the Blue River. It’s nearly full. The creeks feeding it were running. There was …

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Touton: On the Colorado River, we need to cut an additional 2 to 4 million acre feet of use. Now.

I’ll let Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Camille Calimlin Touton explain this: In the Colorado River Basin more conservation and demand management are needed in addition to the actions already underway. Between 2 and 4 million acre feet of additional conservation is needed just to protect critical elevations in 2023. (emphasis added) That’s what Commissioner Touton …

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A hundred years ago in Colorado River Compact negotiations: the Supreme Court Breaks the logjam

By Eric Kuhn and John Fleck With a single statement, the United States Supreme Court changed the direction and tone of the compact negotiations: [T]he waters of an innavigable stream rising in one state and flowing into a state adjoining may not be disposed of by the upper state as she may choose, regardless of …

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Sure, dead bodies in Lake Mead, whatever. I remain optimistic.

It has become a Frequently Asked Question of late here at Inkstain World Headquarters: John, you’ve frequently been quoted in the past expressing optimism about the future of the Colorado River Basin. Dude, Lake Mead is so low they’re finding dead bodies. Are you still optimistic? My answer, of course, is “yes”. It’s in my …

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Crisis Managemnent on the Colorado River

Important observation from Jack Schmidt, Utah State Colorado River guy, on the new constraints on Colorado River management as Lake Powell and Lake Mead drop: “We’re in crisis management, and health and human safety issues, including production of hydropower, are taking precedence,” said Jack Schmidt, director of the center for Colorado River Studies at Utah …

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