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The Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) issued a call to the public for assistance in developing future long-term operating provisions on the Colorado River. This announcement came within days of Reclamation Commissioner Camille Touton’s message to a Senate Committee that the seven states of the Colorado River Basin must produce an emergency deal by mid-August to conserve between 2 and 4 million acre-feet of water in the next year in order to protect the entire Colorado River system. Farmers along the Lower Colorado River in Southern Arizona and Southern California are bracing for severe reductions next year in their river water supplies — cuts they say could lead to widespread crop production cutbacks, major economic dislocation and, possibly, food shortages. Colorado’s water leaders have released an updated blueprint detailing how the state will manage and conserve water supplies as climate change and population growth strain the system in unprecedented ways. However, Colorado has no plans to make additional cuts to water use next year to meet the Bureau of Reclamation’s demand to conserve millions of acre-feet of water. Instead, Colorado officials insist that other states should do the cutting.  While the short-term actions are front and center, Reclamation does not want to put the 2026 long-term needs on the back burner. The Bureau of Reclamation published a Federal Register notice on June 24 to assist in its efforts to develop future Colorado River operating provisions. The notice seeks specific input on how to foster meaningful participation by all stakeholders in preparation for beginning the National Environmental Policy Act process to develop post-2026 operating approaches for the Colorado River, and operating strategies to address post-2026.

To help explain the process and answer questions, Reclamation is hosting two webinars on July 12 and July 14, each beginning at 10:00 a.m. (MDT).  The public input period ends September 1, 2022.  Click here to learn more about the Colorado River Basin. Colorado River Basin | Bureau of Reclamation (usbr.gov)



Tuesday, 12 July 2022