Colorado River basin: Can the Colorado River Compact survive the predicted water short future?

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From the Colorado Independent (Alan Best):

[Douglas Kenney], director of the law school’s Western Water Policy Program, last winter released the first part of a several-tiered study of challenges to administration of the river. Obscured by drought that had left Lake Mead, near Las Vegas, reduced to its lowest level since 1938, demand had quietly crept up and overtaken supply during the last decade, he said. Despite occasional wet years such as the current one, climate-change projections foresee significantly hotter temperatures and perhaps a 9 percent decline in water volume during coming decades, according to the newest study issued this spring by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation…

Some people believe earlier spring, warmer temperatures, and the extended drought of the last decade are harbingers of what lies ahead. “For those of us on the ground, trying to manage supplies, the reality is that things are changing,” said Jim Lochhead, chief executive of Denver Water. “We need to deal with them, because that’s the reality.” Denver, he added, already has a climate scientist on its staff, to help identify its supply-side options…

Summing up the conference, Don Ostler, of the Salt Lake City-based Upper Colorado River Commission, again stressed the perception that the 1922 compact has been proven to be flexible. But, he added, it will needed to be even more flexible because, “you haven’t seen nothing yet.”

More Colorado River basin coverage here.

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