West Slope Water Summit recap — The #Montrose Press #CRWUA2022 #ColoradoRiver #COriver #aridification

Brad Udall: Here’s the latest version of my 4-Panel plot thru Water Year (Oct-Sep) of 2021 of the Colorado River big reservoirs, natural flows, precipitation, and temperature. Data (PRISM) goes back or 1906 (or 1935 for reservoirs.) This updates previous work with @GreatLakesPeck. Credit: Brad Udall via Twitter

Click the link to read the article on The Montrose Press website (Katharhynn Heidelberg). Here’s an excerpt:

“How do you live within a lesser river?” Colorado River Conservation District Manager Andy Mueller asked the roughly 400 people who filled the Montrose County Event Center’s indoor arena on Thursday for the West Slope Water Summit…

The Colorado River Compact divided the river’s water between Colorado, Utah, New Mexico and Wyoming (Upper Basin) and California, Arizona and Nevada (Lower Basin), based on 17.5 million acre-feet. Under a treaty, Mexico receives Colorado River water as well, 1.5 million acre-feet. The amount exists on paper; however, the running average is only 15 million acre-feet (7.5 million acre-feet per basin). Mueller reports the last 10 years’ average has been 12.6 million acre-feet, with more than 14 million acre-feet in use, which has drained down once brimming reservoirs. Add to that temperature increases that dry out the soils, which in turn suck up a fair amount of snowfall precipitation; transportive losses; evaporative losses, plus federal pressure to conserve even more water, and the reality is: water consumption has to be cut. Although the ongoing argument between the Upper and Lower Basins tends to center on who has already been cut too deeply and who has not, it doesn’t change the hotter, drier climate conditions.

“Because of that, we should understand our water uses have to be reduced as well,” Mueller said, after detailing the history of the Colorado River Compact, uses, and political disputes over the river’s water.

Mueller said although the Upper Basin has consistently lived within its hydrology while meeting its compact obligations to send water downstream, and the Lower Basin hasn’t, everyone must be more innovative in bringing solutions to protect agriculture, communities, and the attendant economies.

Map credit: AGU

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