#CRWUA2018: Getting To The Finish Line: What’s Next For #ColoradoRiver #Drought Contingency Planning? — @ADWR and @CAPArizona #COriver #aridification @usbr

From the Arizona Department of Water Resources:

Arizona has worked over the course of several years with the other States in the Colorado River Basin and the United States to develop an interstate Drought Contingency Plan to protect Colorado River supplies. Within Arizona, stakeholders have been working to develop an Implementation Plan, a series of agreements that will govern the way that certain terms of the DCP will be implemented within Arizona once the DCP is effective.

The Implementation Plan is nearly in place. However, we’re not yet able to say it’s “done.”

Last week, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman announced a deadline of January 31, 2019, for the states to complete their work on the DCP.

“To date, (the Department of) Interior has been very supportive and extremely patient with the pace of progress on the DCP,” said the Commissioner at the annual meetings of the Colorado River Water Users Association. “But delay increases the risk for us all.”

“I am here today to tell you all that we will act if needed to protect this basin.”

So, what needs to happen for Arizonans to officially say “the plan is done?” And further. . . then what?

AZDCP Implementation

Arizona’s participation in the interstate DCP requires a resolution by the Arizona State Legislature authorizing the Director of ADWR to sign the necessary interstate agreements. To facilitate a smooth legislative process, some additional discussion regarding the Implementation Plan is needed. To that end, ADWR and the Central Arizona Water Conservation District (the CAP) are in the process of outlining agreements necessary to turn the Implementation Plan into action. With about six weeks to go, the timing is tight, but all agree it’s “doable.”

Several interstate agreements must be signed to effectuate the DCP. Those agreements include:

Lower Basin DCP

Parties in Arizona, California and Nevada will sign the LBDCP agreement, which includes a document known as the Lower Basin Drought Contingency Operations. In combination with guidelines adopted in 2007, the LBDCP agreement will control operations in the Lower Basin.

Upper Basin DCP

The Upper Colorado River Commission, which includes representatives of Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming, has approved the Upper Basin documents – the Upper Basin Drought Response Operations Agreement and the Upper Basin Demand Management Storage Agreement. This means that, as a group, the Upper Basin states are prepared to sign the DCP.

The “Companion Agreement”

A Companion Agreement will bind the Upper Basin and Lower Basin agreements together.

Federal legislation will be required authorizing the Secretary of the Interior to sign the interstate DCP agreements as well.

The AZDCP Steering Committee will meet again to discuss the AZDCP Implementation Framework at a meeting to be held from 1 to 3 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 8, at CAP headquarters, 23636 N. 7th St., Phoenix.

From KAWC.org (VICTOR CALDERÓN):

Native American tribal leaders attended the Colorado River Water Users Association conference and spoke on opportunities and challenges for tribal communities.

“The Colorado River Indian Tribe was blessed with senior water rights on the river so what our purpose is in this is to offer whatever help or assistance we can to the state of Arizona because we all live together in this area,” said Keith Moses, vice chairman for the tribe in La Paz County in western Arizona. “Everything that we do affects each one of us be it our tribe or those around us.”

Moses said his community is working with people including farmers in the Yuma area to mitigate any impact of water cutbacks.

During a session at a Caesar’s Palace ballroom, leaders from the Jicarilla Apache and Navajo nations and the Cocopah and Fort Mojave Indian tribes applauded the long awaited release of a tribal water report.

“The tribal study has come to fruition and it will be a resource to learn about the tribes’ diversity, tribal water rights and what we plan to do in order to be a good community partner and help with the drought contingency plan when that comes into play,” said Rosa Long, a councilwoman for the Cocopah.

The Ten Tribes Partnership, which took part in the Las Vegas conference, was formed in 1992 by 10 federally recognized tribes with federal Indian reserved water rights in the Colorado River or its tributaries. Among these tribes are the Ute Indian Tribe and the Quechan Indian Tribe in southwestern Arizona.

A final deal will require federal legislation and approval by Arizona’s legislature before it can be put in action.

Click here to read USBR Commissioner Brenda Burman’s speech from the Colorado River Water Users Association on December 13, 2018

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