Colorado River Basin Water Supply & Demand Study Interim Report #1 is hot off the press

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From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

“The report is important because you’re trying to balance higher demand against the available supply,” said Alan Hamel, executive director of the Pueblo Board of Water Works and a member of the Colorado Water Conservation Board. “Colorado is ahead of the other states that receive some of their supply from the Colorado River, but we can still garner important information out of the study.”

The Arkansas Basin Roundtable on Wednesday heard an update on the CWCB’s study of availability of water from the Colorado River. It is important to most of the state, because about 500,000 acre-feet of supplemental water is imported each year to the Front Range communities in the Arkansas and South Platte basins.

There is still frustration because so much information is available, while the changes in climate are uncertain. “The more uncertainty we have, the wider the range of results,” said Matt Brown, a consultant with AECOM engineering…

Hamel and other water leaders have been involved in a water banking plan involving Blue Mesa Reservoir on the Gunnison River as a way to protect the junior rights in Colorado. Negotiations with Reclamation are still a few years away, he said. In the meantime, more storage is needed on both sides of the mountains within Colorado, Hamel said. “Storage becomes even more important when you talk about climate change,” Hamel said. “We will need more reservoirs to collect rain as well as snow melt, and to balance the cycles between wet and dry years.”[…]

Denver and Aurora have joined Colorado River Municipal Utilities, which includes the largest water utilities in Arizona, California and Nevada. Collectively, they use 15 percent of the river’s water, but have issued a statement that says joint use of the river is required to fill environmental, recreational and agricultural needs.

More Colorado River basin coverage here.

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