Click the link to read the column on the AZCentral.com website (Joanna Allhands). Here’s an excerpt:
Opinion: If the feds won’t force action, how can the rest of us save a rapidly deteriorating Lake Mead and Lake Powell? These 5 things might help.
How are we supposed to save Lake Mead and Lake Powell now? Eight weeks of negotiations didn’t get us anywhere near the 2 million to 4 million acre-feet of additional water conservation that must happen in 2023 to keep the nation’s two largest reservoirs on life support. The federal Bureau of Reclamation, which oversees operation of the lakes, declined to offer any additional deadlines for new plans, after the seven states that receive Colorado River water were unable to agree on anything. It also backed away from the threat it made in June of dictating cuts if states couldn’t save enough water. For now, all actions are voluntary. That’s a mistake.
But if these are the cards we’re dealt, what needs to happen now?
1. No more kicking the can
2. This requires sacrifice. Say it
3. Everyone must do their part
4. Agree to a basic framework
5. Pressure Reclamation to do its job
I won’t pretend that any of the above will magically lead to a deal. In fact, many folks in the water world think progress is dead until Reclamation makes another credible threat of unilateral action.
But the bureau is doing the opposite.
Every action it outlined last week was either something Reclamation is already doing – such as potentially re-engineering the dams to flow water at lower lake levels – or something that could take months to work out with states voluntarily – like asking the Lower Basin to account for evaporation and system losses, nearly 1.2 million acre-feet of water that we currently pretend doesn’t exist.