U.S. senators Bennet and Hickenlooper on potential revisions to #ColoradoRiver operations: Wet year no excuse to ignore a drier future — The #Vail Daily #COriver #aridification

Water levels at Lake Powell have plummeted to lows not seen since the days when the reservoir was filling for the first time. Credit: Alexander Heilner, The Water Desk with aerial support from LightHawk, CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Click the link to read the article on the Vail Daily website (John LaConte). Here’s an excerpt:

The Bureau of Reclamation on Tuesday [April 11, 2023] issued a set of potential options to revise the current operation of the Colorado River system, catching the attention of many residents and stakeholders within the system…The options were laid out in a draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement, which determined that some action would be required to protect the Glen Canyon and Hoover Dam operations, system integrity, and public health and safety in the years to come…

Sen. Michael Bennet, following Tuesday’s announcement, issued a statement saying as much.

“This year’s good snowpack can’t be an excuse to kick the can down the road,” Bennet said. “This SEIS is a constructive step toward sustaining the Colorado River system for the long term, and I continue to urge all seven Basin states to come to an agreement. We have no time to lose.”

The Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement contemplates an “absence of consensus among all entities affected by changed operations,” saying sound and prudent operation of the reservoirs on the system “will almost certainly lead to objection by specific entities to the impacts of one or more aspects of water management decisions.”

Sen. John Hickenlooper called the statement “an important step in planning for a drier West, saying states “must work towards a collaborative, seven-state solution for managing water scarcity that honors our communities, the sovereignty of Tribes, and the concerns of agricultural producers.”

Hickenlooper also mentioned the lure of the no-action alternative in the shadow of the historic winter of 2022-23.

“No matter how promising this year’s snowpack is, we must prepare for less water in the river on which we rely,” he said.

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