Deadpool Diaries: tapping the brakes on #ColoradoRiver cuts — John Fleck (InkStain) #COriver

Click the link to read the article on the InkStain website (John Fleck):

I’ll need a few more days to digest all 476 pages of the Department of Interior’s Colorado River Draft Supplemental Environmental Environmental Impact Statement, but the top line numbers are worth sharing right away. The DEIS includes a couple of action alternatives, which I’ll briefly describe below, but what’s immediately striking to me is that Interior’s cuts are significantly less ambitious than the states’. Here’s a quick update of the table I built back in January comparing the proposal submitted by Arizona/Nevada/Utah/Colorado/New Mexico/Wyoming, and the California plan.

As you can see, the states were far more willing to cut more quickly, and more deeply, than the federal alternatives. The numbers are cuts, in thousands of acre feet, from the old pre-chaos baselines of 4.4 maf for California, 2.8 maf for Arizona, 300kaf for Nevada.

TierElevation6-stateCaliforniaDEIS 2024DEIS 2025-26
Tier 010901,7841,241400400
Tier 110752,1561,6131,0661,066
Tier 2a1,0502,9181,7211,2341,234
Tier 2b10452,9182,0131,7341,734
Tier 2c10402,9182,0712,0832,083
Tier 2d10352,9182,1292,0832,250
Tier 2e10303,1682,1882,0832,500
Tier 3a10253,1682,5252,0833,000
Tier 3b10203,3682,6752,0833,333
Tier 3c10153,3682,8752,0833,333

In addition to the, “whatever, let’s just crash the system”, the DEIS includes two alternatives….


Alternative one would allow the cuts in my “DEIS” column based on the priority system. This plan is similar to California’s, in that the brunt of deep cuts falls on others. At current reservoir levels, Arizona would be required to cut 1.2 million acre feet, while California cuts nothing.


Alternative two would spread additional needed cuts based on a pro-rata share of 2021 water use among all the users. At current levels, Arizona would cut 1.025 million acre feet, California would cut 1.067.


Contrary to that crazy New York Times headline (click soon, it’ll certainly change!) Interior isn’t picking a preferred alternative. These are really just starting points for a push toward a seven-state negotiation between now and summer.

Here’s how it plays out in 2024:

Table of Cuts


In subsequent years, the cuts go deeper:

2025-26 cuts

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