“If you look at the projections for the [#ColoradoRiver’s] flow, modified by, exacerbated by #climatechange, it’s perfectly clear that #DCP is just an interim solution” — Bruce Babbit #COriver #aridification

Verde River near Clarkdale along Sycamore Canyon Road. Photo credit: Wikimedia

From The Arizona Daily Star (Tony Davis):

After Gov. Doug Ducey urged legislators to “do the heavy lifting” and pass the proposed drought-contingency plan for the Colorado, Babbitt said Monday that authorities will have to start discussing a much longer-term plan immediately after it’s approved.

“If you look at the projections for the river’s flow, modified by, exacerbated by climate change, it’s perfectly clear that DCP is just an interim solution,” Babbitt, who is also a former U.S. Interior secretary, told reporters Monday after Ducey finished his State of the State speech.

Nearly 40 years ago, then-Gov. Babbitt helped push through the pioneering Arizona Groundwater Management Act by muscling a bipartisan group of legislators to approve it after years of inaction. That law set a 2025 deadline for Arizona’s largest cities to balance the pumping of groundwater with the recharge of rainfall and runoff into the aquifer.

Monday, he and former U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl sat in the front row of the State House chambers as Ducey exhorted legislators to pass the drought plan in time to meet a Jan. 31 federal deadline. U.S. Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman has warned she’ll move to take over management of the Colorado River if Arizona and other states don’t approve drought plans by that date.

Babbitt said he was there at Ducey’s invitation. The Republican governor told legislators that Democrat Babbitt and Republican Kyl were examples of how you can succeed with water issues by “working with others, setting aside differences and putting our state and the greater good first.”

Babbitt said he saw clear parallels between the passage of the 1980 groundwater law and the current struggle to pass the drought plan. That year, the Legislature enacted the law only after then-Interior Secretary Cecil Andrus threatened to halt work on the Central Arizona Project if it didn’t — a threat Babbitt has since admitted having secretly orchestrated with Andrus.

“The parallel is that you reach a point at which you’re out of time and something must happen” Babbitt said. “That has an awakening effect on people.”

Now, however, the seven river basin states face “a very difficult pathway” — a continued future of declining river supplies and increasing demand fueled by continued population growth, Babbitt said…

The lengthy debate over the drought plan is a proxy for the much bigger questions about the dynamics between the river’s upper and lower basins, Babbitt said.

“We’re taking more than our share” in the Lower Basin, while the Upper Basin hasn’t started taking all the water it’s entitled to use, he said.

But he declined to discuss if the state can continue growing in population and economically in the face of decreasing flows on the Colorado. It supplies 40 percent of Arizona’s total water supply.

“That’s a subject for another lengthy discussion,” after this drought plan is approved, Babbitt said…

Babbitt said he’s increasingly confident that the drought plan will pass the Legislature, given that it’s become “front and center” in both the governor and legislators’ public statements.

From The Voice of San Diego (Ry Rivard):

The Colorado River may not look like it, but it’s one of the world’s largest banks.

The river is not only the source of much of the American West’s economic productivity – San Diego, Phoenix and Denver would hardly exist without it – but its water is now the central commodity in a complex accounting system used by major farmers and entire states.

Now, when talking about the river, water officials across the West use terms like bank, payback and surplus. Often the analogies to finance don’t stop there – they put money behind deals that dictate who gets water and who does not.

This month, the nation’s largest water agency, the Metropolitan Water District, began what amounts to a run on the bank.

The district – which delivers water across Southern California, including to San Diego – started rapidly withdrawing water from the river, which is stored behind Hoover Dam in Lake Mead.

Metropolitan officials are worried that the federal government is about to step in to ration the river, which 40 million people depend on as it flows some 1,300 miles from its headwaters in Wyoming and Colorado to the Sea of Cortez in Mexico…

Metropolitan’s immediate concern is that it will lose the ability to withdraw 600,000 acre feet of banked water from Lake Mead – enough water for roughly 7 million people. The district can only get half of that out this year, meaning it is in danger of losing lots of water…

At last count, Lake Mead stood just six feet away from falling into shortage, the first step toward rationing water. There was already about a 50-50 chance the river would fall that far this year. The chances are even higher now, because Metropolitan’s plan to withdraw as much water as it can may cause the lake to drop four or five feet – though the lake will rise again as snow melts this spring.

Once there’s a shortage, Arizona is supposed to be in trouble. At least on paper, California’s rights to the river’s water are so secure that Arizona’s water supply would have to run dry before California loses a single drop.

That’s politically impossible since 7 million people live in Arizona and need water. So for several years, Metropolitan and a clutch of power-players across seven states have been trying to reach a different, more realistic deal. Their efforts have repeatedly stalled, mostly because of squabbling within Arizona, which is ironic because the state stands to lose so much unless something changes.

The Arizona Chamber Foundation, a nonprofit business group, said without a deal the state’s access to water “could be caught up in the courts for decades or managed from Washington, D.C. Such uncertainty could be a drag on Arizona’s historic economic resurgence.”

The deal would allow Metropolitan to withdraw banked water even during an official shortage. But now Metropolitan is preparing for the worst-case scenario, which is a combination of uncertainty and a banking freeze. Still, district officials hopes Arizona signs a deal in coming weeks.

“We’re not at the point of no return,” said ​Bill Hasencamp, the district’s manager of Colorado River resources.

Tom Buschatzke, the director of the Arizona Department of Water Resources, said in a statement that he knew Metropolitan would begin trying to get its water out as quickly as possible…

Last year, the agency that runs Arizona’s water system, the Central Arizona Project, got busted using water accounting quirks to get more water from the upper basin than it needed. Officials in the upper basin accused Arizona of threatening the water supply for 40 million people.

For decades, water officials across the region have alternated between working together to share the river and fighting like hell to horde it.

Following a long-running Supreme Court battle between California and Arizona, the Bureau of Reclamation in the mid-1960s created a modern accounting system to track who was using how much of the river from year to year.

For the past two decades, the river has been in drought. Partly to cope with that, states and water agencies began to use that tracking system to create increasingly complex transactions. The original laws governing the river don’t anticipate users would save water one year and claim the right to use that water in future years, the practice known as banking. The old laws also don’t anticipate or even allow the sale of water across state lines.

That has fallen by the wayside as a series of sophisticated transactions have proliferated, where states bank and transfer water.

The Southern Nevada Water Authority, for instance, has sent enough water for several million of its residents to Arizona, where it is stored underground.

When Nevada wants its water back, it won’t actually pump that water up from the ground. Arizona will curb its use of the Colorado River and let Nevada take water otherwise earmarked for Arizona.

Likewise, if the new river-sharing deal happens, Nevada has promised to lend water to Metropolitan that, in turn, will help Arizona avoid devastating cuts.

“It’s creative ways to live within the existing law of the river,” Hasencamp said.

Indian tribes saw it another way. They complained early on that transactions would rely on water that actually belongs to tribes. On paper the tribe have rights to lots of water, even though they currently lack a real way to get most of that water from the river to their land. So other states are essentially banking on tribes not getting that water anytime soon.

“It is logical to expect that the current water users will have even more incentive to resist the development of Colorado River water by the Navajo Nation in order to minimize their risk of shortage,” the tribe wrote in a 2007 letter to federal officials.

A federal appeals court disagreed with the tribes’ arguments on legal grounds, though didn’t quite deny they had a point…

There are two ways to get people to use less water. The first is to forbid them from using it, the regulatory approach. The second is to pay them not to, the market approach.

Because regulations often end up in court, some water officials think throwing money at the problem is easier. Most Colorado River water is still used for farming. So when push comes to shove in a drought, cities will end up paying farmers to use less water.

Over the past several years, cities from Los Angeles to Phoenix to Denver pooled their money to pay farmers to use less water.

These payouts happened up and down both basins: In 2017, cities paid $635,000 to a New Mexican farmer who stopped growing corn, potatoes, alfalfa and beans along the San Juan River, one of the Colorado’s far-flung tributaries. They paid several farmers along the Price River in Utah about $370,000 to idle their fields or change how they water them. Several farmers along Fontenelle Creek in Wyoming changed how they watered their pastures and got a few hundred thousand dollars in return.

These projects didn’t amount to much, a few million dollars to save about 11,000 acre feet of water…

The biggest transaction of all is between the San Diego County Water Authority and the Imperial Irrigation District. The irrigation district, which provides water to farmers in Imperial County, holds rights to as much Colorado River water as the states of Arizona and Nevada combined.

In exchange for billions of dollars, the Water Authority can use some of Imperial’s high-priority water rights for decades to come.

For now, that deal insulates San Diego from some of the drama on the Colorado, but Water Authority officials have actually wanted to get in the mix.

For several months, the Water Authority has said it would like to leave some of the water it buys from Imperial in the river. In doing so, San Diego water officials would forgo using water they spent a quarter century trying to get and fighting over in court.

Dan Denham, the Water Authority’s assistant general manager, said San Diego could leave enough of that water in Lake Mead to raise its elevation by three feet…

When the California drought left those northern rivers empty, Metropolitan began drawing as much water as it could from the Colorado. But when the drought ended here but continued on the Colorado River, Metropolitan began using as much Northern California water as it could and leaving water in Lake Mead. That’s some of the banked water it could now lose.

Recently, Metropolitan projected how much it would cost to replace some of its Colorado River supplies in coming years. Depending on the scenario, that could cost between $80 million and $954 million, though those numbers are pretty rough and would be divided up among 19 million people who get water from the district.

Aspinall Unit operations meeting January 17, 2019

From email from Reclamation (Erik Knight):

The next Aspinall Operations meeting will be held on January 17th in Montrose at the Holiday Inn Express. The meeting will start at 1:00.

Aspinall Unit

Developers stall Lower Basin #Drought Contingency Plan negotiations #ColoradoRiver #COriver #aridification

A canal delivers water to Phoenix. Photo credit: Allen Best

From The Arizona Republic (Ian James):

The outstanding issues, some of which are proving contentious, range from developers’ concerns about securing future water supplies to lining up funding for Pinal County farmers to drill wells and begin to pump more groundwater.

A disagreement has also flared up over the terms of an “offset” provision that involves leaving water in Lake Mead to boost the levels of the dwindling reservoir.

These complications will force more talks geared toward achieving a consensus as the state Legislature begins session Monday and starts working on legislation that would authorize Arizona’s participation in a Drought Contingency Plan, or DCP, with Nevada and California.

Gov. Doug Ducey has called for the parties to quickly wrap up a deal, saying that with a critical shortfall imminent on the river, “we cannot kick the can any further.”

But at a meeting of the state’s steering committee Tuesday, the to-do list still appeared long. And several members of the committee voiced pointed disagreements on provisions that have yet to be finalized.

Last month, federal Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman set a Jan. 31 deadline for Arizona and California to finish their agreements and sign on. She said if the states fail to meet that deadline, the federal government will get involved and step in to prevent reservoirs from falling to critically low levels…

[Tom Buschatzke] and other water managers began the meeting Tuesday with an overview of where water levels stand in the river’s main reservoirs. Lake Powell is now 41 percent full, while Lake Mead is 39 percent full, just above a level that would trigger a first-ever declaration of a shortage.

They also reviewed a list of issues that have yet to be resolved, some of which relate to concerns of farmers in Pinal County, who have the lowest priority and face the biggest cuts in water deliveries.

The farmers had expressed worries about taking especially large cuts in the scenario of a more serious “tier 2” shortage at Lake Mead, and Tucson city officials have proposed to help in that scenario by providing the farmers up to 35,000 acre-feet of water per year for two years. (An acre-foot is 325,851 gallons, enough to cover a football field with a foot of water.)

“We believe it’s a prudent thing to do to give the certainty to Pinal agriculture that they’re seeking on volume in the first three years,” said Timothy Thomure, director of Tucson Water. He said city officials will help finish the Colorado River deal while presenting no risks to the city.

To make the deal possible, the city would ask that water credits in the Tucson groundwater management area be transferred to the city in exchange for credits it would get in Pinal County.

He said Tucson is also asking for reforms affecting how treated sewage effluent figures in the state’s framework of water laws. One of the changes, Thomure said, would be to eliminate a 2025 “sunset” provision on water agencies’ ability to get storage credits for effluent. The city is also seeking more long-term storage credit when effluent is used to replenish groundwater.

Buschatzke called it a “very creative proposal” and said he expects more talks will be needed to work out the specifics…

Representatives of developers have been pressing for a provision conditionally granting them a certain amount of water — 7,000 acre-feet per year — for the first three years of a shortage. Ted Cooke, general manager of the Central Arizona Project, supported the idea and said this provision for an additional water supply would go away if the Drought Contingency Plan is signed.

As the developers have proposed it, the conditional water supply would be included to backstop a larger deal that’s already set to free up more water for future development — just in case the plan isn’t signed in the end.

In that larger $95 million deal, the council of the Gila River Indian Community agreed last month to sell up to 33,185 acre-feet annually to the Central Arizona Groundwater Replenishment District for 25 years starting in 2020 — enough to supply more than 99,000 homes based on the average water use in the area. The transfer would take effect once Arizona signs the Colorado River deal.

That Gila River Indian Community’s water deal was welcomed by developers because it secures water supplies for more growth into the 2030s, said Spencer Kamps, vice president of legislative affairs for the Home Builders Association of Central Arizona.

“But having said that, like everybody around the table, we’re seeking certainty. And there is uncertainty on the DCP plan going through the legislative process,” Kamps said. “My members are seeking certainty as it relates to investment from, you know, our corporate offices.”

He said developers want to be sure that when a shortage is triggered “that there is a reliable supply.”

“The concern from us is the uncertainty if anything were to happen, obviously, moving forward with the DCP plan, and it wasn’t satisfactory to either the governor or whomever,” Kamps said. “And I think that’s a reasonable request, to ensure that development can move forward regardless of the conditions on the lake during this 7-year program.”

The developers’ proposal was firmly opposed by Buschatzke, who said adding that amount of water for three years would upset the “delicate balance” that has been negotiated in the plan. Buschatzke also said: “I’m not sure where that water would come from.”

Cynthia Campbell, a water adviser for Phoenix, called the developers’ proposal “unthinkable” and said the city won’t support it.

“We don’t have enough water to go around for all the contract holders,” Campbell said. “Why would you start talking about adding new parties to the dole? That’s crazy.”

Gov. Stephen Roe Lewis of the Gila River Indian Community said he thought the issue of future water supplies for development had been dealt with already. He said the council’s resolution approving the water deal is “self-executing” once Arizona signs the Drought Contingency Plan. He offered to consult with his council and send a letter clarifying the point.

Donald Pongrace, a lawyer for the Gila River Indian Community, said after the meeting that the developers’ proposal “would create a precedent of providing water out of priority that we and all other CAP contract holders would find objectionable.”

Lewis’ offer of sending a letter to clarify that the signing of the Colorado River agreement will trigger the water transfer should be sufficient to resolve the issue, Pongrace said, though he said it’s “unnecessary and somewhat insulting to the community’s integrity and overall participation in the process.”

[…]

Another issue that drew opposition from Lewis and Buschatzke was a proposal by CAP officials regarding the “offset” component of Arizona’s plan, which involves deducting some water supplies from a Lake Mead storage account and replacing those supplies on paper with water from other sources.

Originally the idea had been a water exchange between CAP and Salt River Project, but CAP officials have instead proposed an alternative in which their agency would keep the stored water in their account. Pongrace said that’s likely a nonstarter for the Gila River Indian Community because it would give the CAP board discretion to use the water as it sees fit, and potentially take the water out.

“It’s basically calling something conservation that isn’t,” Pongrace said. “It’s the equivalent of financial gimmickry, and we will not accept it.”

Despite the disagreements and the short timetable for drafting legislation, Cooke and Buschatzke both expressed optimism about finishing a deal.

“We’re going to work on things between now and when the legislature starts, and we’re going to work on things after the legislature starts,” Cooke said. “I think we’re closer than we’ve ever been, and I think we’re in closure range, definitely.”

Cooke said CAP and state water officials will work with legislative staffers to draft the package of legislation, and the idea is to keep it simple. The legislation is to include a resolution approving Arizona’s participation in the Drought Contingency Plan together with California and Arizona, as well as other measures outlining funding for the plan and several other changes that will be necessary to make it work.

From the Associated Press via KGUN9.com:

An Arizona committee looking for ways to divvy up cuts from the Colorado River water supply says it has about a handful of issues to settle…

Farmers, cities, tribes, home builders, state agencies and others on the committee met Tuesday. Their goal is to save up to 700,000 acre-feet of water over seven years.

The Arizona Daily Star reports that farmers in Pinal County want more water and certainty in funding for groundwater wells.

Homebuilders also want extra water until a deal with a tribe is finalized.

Two Arizona water utilities remain at odds over water stored in Lake Mead.

The Arizona Legislature must approve the complex plan.

#GunnisonRiver: Fire Mountain Canal Improvement Project groundbreaking

Here’s the release from Senator Bennet’s Office:

Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet today applauded the groundbreaking of the Fire Mountain Canal Improvement Project in the North Fork of the Gunnison River.

“Because our parents and grandparents made necessary investments in water infrastructure, agriculture has thrived on the Western Slope,” Bennet said. “We need to make these same investments for future generations. The demands on our rivers are greater than ever as we face the challenges of climate change and a growing population. Collaborative efforts like the Fire Mountain Canal Improvement project are critical to making irrigation systems more efficient to support our agricultural economy.

“Congratulations to all of the local, state, and federal partners who collaborated to make this project a reality. Our work to secure the Critical Conservation Area designation, and federal funding through the Farm Bill, are the first of many actions we can take to invest in Colorado’s water security,” Bennet concluded.

In 2014, Bennet secured the Critical Conservation Area (CCA) designation for the Colorado River Basin, making the lower Gunnison basin eligible for federal funding. As a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, Bennet then helped craft a new Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) in the 2014 Farm Bill, which secured $8 million for the Colorado River District project in the Lower Gunnison River Basin. In the 2018 Farm Bill, Bennet worked to reauthorize and increase funding for the RCPP and direct more funding toward water infrastructure and drought resilience across Colorado and the West.

The $4.6 million Fire Mountain Canal Improvement Project will build a buried, large-diameter pipeline along four miles of currently unlined canal. The project is part of the $50 million Lower Gunnison River Basin Project, spearheaded by the Colorado River District, with combined funding from the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, the Colorado Water Conservation Board, local water conservancy and conservation districts, and local irrigation companies such as the Fire Mountain Canal and Reservoir Company.

Here’s the Finding of no significant impact from March 2018 via USBR.

From The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel (Dennis Webb):

A sweeping, multi-entity effort in the lower Gunnison River Basin to boost irrigation efficiency and help the environment is marking a milestone with the start of work on a pipeline project in the North Fork Valley.

A groundbreaking celebration Tuesday marked the beginning of the Fire Mountain Canal Improvement Project. The $4.6 million undertaking, which is expected to take two years to complete, is part of the larger, $50 million Lower Gunnison Project.

The Fire Mountain work involves converting more than four miles of open, unlined, earthen canal to a buried, large-diameter pipeline.

That will eliminate water loss along the canal route and also result in a pressurized supply reaching irrigators who can then use methods such as sprinklers or drip systems to water crops more efficiently than with flood irrigation…

Dave Kanzer, deputy chief engineer with the Colorado River District, which is managing the Lower Gunnison Project, said the Fire Mountain project will benefit some 5,000 acres of irrigated ground.

The potential benefits to the Fire Mountain system were made evident last summer when drought taxed its water supply. Kanzer said Fire Mountain is what’s called a “water-short” system.

It has a brief, limited water supply season, relying on water from Paonia Reservoir and unable to tap supplies from the Gunnison River mainstem.

Kanzer said converting to sprinklers allows for switching to minimum- or low-till agriculture, which allows for carbon capture and accumulation of organic matter in soil, as an alternative to using chemical fertilizers.

These changes in irrigation approaches also mean less concentration of salts and other chemicals in soil, less salt and selenium in waterways and improved river flows, which benefit wildlife, including endangered fish downstream.

While several projects in the lower Gunnison basin have gotten underway as part of the umbrella Lower Gunnison Project, Kanzer said the Fire Mountain project is the first large one. A $5 million pipeline project in the Uncompahgre River Valley also is going forward this year, he said.

The Lower Gunnison Project incorporates funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the federal Bureau of Reclamation, the Colorado Water Conservation Board, local water conservancy and conservation districts, and irrigation companies including the Fire Mountain Canal and Reservoir Co.

The project is the product of a diverse partnership and is focusing on improving agricultural water use efficiency in areas covered by the North Fork Water Conservancy District, Bostwick Park Water Conservancy District near Montrose, the Crawford Water Conservancy District and the Uncompahgre Valley Water Users Association.

Gunnison River Basin. By Shannon1 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=69257550

The latest E-Newsletter is hot off the presses from the Hutchins Water Center

Click here to read the newsletter. Here’s an excerpt:

TRIBAL WATER STUDY RELEASED

The Bureau of Reclamation and the Ten Tribes Partnership have released the long-awaited Tribal Water Study, which you can access here. The study documents how the tribes in the partnership currently use their water in the Colorado River Basin, projects future water development, and describes potential effects of tribal water development on the Colorado River System.

Many Indian reservations are located in or near contentious river basins where demand for water outstrips supply. Map courtesy of the Bureau of Reclamation.

@CAPArizona board approves #drought contingency plan, next stop #Arizona legislature

Central Arizona Project map via Mountain Town News

From The Arizona Daily Star (Tony Davis):

The CAP board’s vote last week caps five months of intense politicking over the plan, which was many times in serious jeopardy. In the last few weeks, oft-squabbling interest groups and agencies finally began to coalesce around basic principles for a plan.

As a sign of how much the debate has calmed, CAP’s board endorsed a plan introduced only a week earlier by the head of the Arizona Department of Water Resources, with which CAP was at war a year ago. CAP board members also dropped plans to push four amendments to the state’s proposal that were unpopular with other water users. The board did, however, condition that approval on making sure that developers and farmers achieve “certainty” about their access to water supplies that would compensate for the plan’s proposed cutbacks in CAP deliveries.

The drought-contingency plan would leave one-third to one-half of the CAP’s annual supply in Lake Mead from 2020 through 2026, without causing immediate, major economic disruption.

This bit of hydrologic alchemy would be accomplished by replacing some water supplies that would be cut with “mitigation” supplies from other sources. To make the drought plan even more complex, some of those mitigation sources are also controversial, which has forced planners to find still more sources to offset their environmental impacts.

The plan has gained strong support from a U.S. Bureau of Reclamation official, Leslie Meyers. She runs the bureau’s Phoenix office and sits on the 40-member steering committee representing water interests that is reviewing this plan.

More importantly, U.S. Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman is pleased with Arizona’s progress and believes the state has met her goal of producing a plan by the end of this year, Meyers said. “While it’s probably not perfect, it’s close. It’s good,” Meyers said.

It’s questionable at best whether the plan can be finalized by the end of the year, since everyone agrees that unsettled issues raised by the plan still need discussion. But the blueprint approved by the CAP board almost certainly will be the guts of whatever plan is approved.

@USBR Releases #ColoradoRiver Basin Ten Tribes Partnership Tribal Water Study #COriver #aridification

Click here to read the report. Here’s the release from the Bureau of Reclamation (Patti Aaron):

Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman announced today the release of the Colorado River Basin Ten Tribes Partnership Tribal Water Study that was conducted collaboratively with the member tribes of the Ten Tribes Partnership.

The study documents how Partnership Tribes currently use their water, projects how future water development could occur and describes the potential effects of future tribal water development on the Colorado River System. The study also identifies challenges related to the use of tribal water and explores opportunities that provide a wide range of benefits to both Partnership Tribes and other water users.

“We face a prolonged drought that represents one of the driest 20-year periods on the Colorado River in the last 1,200 years,” said Commissioner Burman. “This study is an important step forward that furthers our understanding of the challenges facing the Colorado River Basin and the actions we can take to collaboratively address them.”

While not all federally-recognized tribes in the basin are members of the Ten Tribes Partnership, the Partnership Tribes have reserved water rights, including unresolved claims, to potentially divert nearly 2.8 million acre-feet of water per year from the Colorado River and its tributaries. In many cases, these rights are senior to other uses.

The study is the outcome of a commitment between Reclamation and the Partnership Tribes to engage in a joint study to build on the scientific foundation of the Colorado River Basin Water Supply and Demand Study, published by Reclamation in 2012.

“Reclamation recognized the need for additional analyses and work following the 2012 Colorado River Basin Study,” said Reclamation Lower Colorado Regional Director Terry Fulp. “Working together, the Ten Tribes Partnership and Reclamation have produced a valuable reference that is the first of its kind in the Colorado River Basin.”

The study highlights tribal observations and concerns, including lack of water security, incomplete distribution systems and regulatory and economic challenges to developing water systems in geographically diverse areas.

“In light of the importance of tribal water rights in the Colorado River Basin, the Partnership and Reclamation collaborated to contribute crucial tribal-specific information to the discussions regarding Colorado River management,” said Lorelei Cloud, Chairman of the Ten Tribes Partnership. “Without the hard work and dedication of Reclamation, tribal leaders, and tribal staff, this critical project would not have been possible.”

The Ten Tribes Partnership was formed in 1992 by ten federally recognized tribes with federal Indian reserved water rights in the Colorado River or its tributaries. Five member tribes are located in the Upper Basin (Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, Southern Ute Indian Tribe, Ute Indian Tribe, Jicarilla Apache Nation and Navajo Nation) and five are in the Lower Basin (Fort Mojave Indian Tribe, Colorado River Indian Tribes, Chemehuevi Indian Tribe, Quechan Indian Tribe and Cocopah Indian Tribe).

The study is available at: https://www.usbr.gov/lc/region/programs/crbstudy/tribalwaterstudy.html