#ColoradoRiver District General Manager: #California #water cut far from what is needed from that state — The #GrandJunction Daily Sentinel #COriver #aridification

The structural deficit refers to the consumption by Lower Basin states of more water than enters Lake Mead each year. The deficit, which includes losses from evaporation, is estimated at 1.2 million acre-feet a year. (Image: Central Arizona Project)

Click the link to read the article on The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel website (Dennis Webb). Here’s an excerpt:

The general manager of the West Slope’s Colorado River District says proposed cuts by California entities in river water use are much less than is needed from that state, and their implication that other states need to step up with similar reductions fails to account for uncompensated, naturally occurring cuts that already impact users in the river’s Upper Basin…He was reacting to an Oct. 5 letter by officials with California water entities using Colorado River water, including the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and Imperial Irrigation District, proposing to conserve up to an additional 400,000 acre-feet of water in Lake Mead annually from 2023-36…

Mueller said in his memo, “California continues to take the position that it will do so only on a voluntary, temporary, compensated basis and that their participation is contingent upon the federal government paying their water users an acceptable level of compensation and the implementation of additional conservation measures from the other Basin States (including Colorado)…

Mueller and some other Colorado and Upper Basin water officials contend that while Lower Basin water users have been able to rely on water storage in Mead and Powell, Upper Basin water users are subject to varying hydrology that in some years results in users coping with cuts in use. In some years, such as 2014, water users in Colorado reduced consumption by a million acre-feet, or about 28%, Mueller says…

He says the California entities also don’t want the Bureau of Reclamation to start accounting for evaporation and transit loss in the Lower Basin that amounts to 1.2 million acre-feet a year. Reclamation has committed to address that, but Mueller thinks it is afraid to do so out of fear of litigation from Lower Basin states. At a recent river district water seminar in Grand Junction, he contended that while everyone in the basin needs to come up with solutions for reducing usage, the evaporation/transit losses must be addressed first.

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