From The Glenwood Springs Post Independent (Alex Zorn):
The State of the River featured several presentations. Speakers included Scot Dodero, who discussed the Silt Water Conservancy District and its upcoming $3 million upgrade to its pump house, and Eric Kuhn, general manager of the Colorado River District, who focused on big picture questions facing the Colorado River.
The Colorado River District started these meetings 24 years ago. Kuhn sees exports as a potential issue in the future, for every drop of water is used from the river.
“If California is in a drought and they can’t export more water from northern California, they will take more from the Colorado,” he explained.
He compared it to a rubber band being pulled on both sides; eventually it is going to snap.
Kuhn listed demand management and cloud seeding (or snowmaking) as potential solutions in contingency planning, but admitted it was a complex issue.
The evening’s final presentation looked at the Grand Valley water banking experiment, which will test how conserving consumptive water use by agricultural fallowing will send more water to Lake Powell to help bolster low reservoir levels.
“Water banking is the practice of intentionally foregoing diversion or consumptive use of a water resource and banking the conversed volume for use at a future date or different purpose,” said Mark Harris of the Grand Valley Water Users Association.
In 2017, 10 farm operators across the valley, each committing a minimum of 60 acres, will participate in the pilot program to reduce water consumption. The program will ensure that agricultural water users would have a seat at the table if and when water rights becomes more of an issue. In turn, they won’t be expected to shoulder the burden in drought conditions.