University of Colorado law school: Searching for a sustainable Colorado River management plan

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From the Boulder Daily Camera (Laura Snider):

A complex web of treaties, compacts, laws and court decisions govern who can use the once-mighty river’s water and when. But over the last several decades, those rules have not kept the yearly demand for water from exceeding the average flow. “People have known since the 1940s, if not earlier, that this river was over-allocated and that, at some point, it’s going to be a major problem,” said Douglas Kenney, senior research associate at the University of Colorado’s Natural Resources Law Center…

Kenney and two of his colleagues have now begun an ambitious, yearlong project called the Colorado River Governance Initiative to evaluate options for reforming the laws of the river. “The initiative is designed to develop a blueprint for future management that will allow for managing the river basin’s resources more holistically and in a manner that preserves wildlife resources and habitats while ensuring the availability of water supplies for humans,” said Mark Squillace, director of the Natural Resources Law Center…

So part of the project’s goal is to do the background policy work, and ask the questions, that public officials are often afraid to, eventually creating a ready-made list of possible changes that may be easier for government leaders to handle. “If you’re an elected official and you talk about changing the management of the Colorado River, you have to tread very carefully,” Kenney said. “We’re going to study the options that they cannot safely talk about publicly. If we come up with some really good solutions, then they can think about supporting them.”

More Colorado River Basin coverage here.

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