• Colorado cooperates with other states to avoid a long, unpredictable Supreme Court battle. But if we cooperate and Arizona doesn’t, we may continue to lose.

    Ed Millard

    3:00 AM MST on Jan 24, 2021

    The Glen Canyon Dam at Lake Powell in Page, Arizona. (Jesse Paul, The Colorado Sun)

    The Colorado River is under stress today due to rising temperatures and declining streamflows, as described in a Dec. 13 Colorado Sun opinion essay by Russell George and John Stulp. The other cause, seldom mentioned, is a water war among seven states, Mexico and the federal government — a war Colorado has been losing.

    The 1922 Colorado River Compact called for dividing the river’s water equally between the Upper Basin (Colorado, northwestern New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming and far northeastern Arizona) and the Lower Basin (California, Nevada, the rest of Arizona, southwestern Utah and western New Mexico). In the compact, each basin was promised 7.5 million acre-feet of water each year. (An acre-foot is 325,851 gallons, enough to cover an acre, about the size of a football field, 12 inches deep.)

    At the last minute, Arizona demanded exclusive use of water from the Gila River, which flows from New Mexico across Arizona to the Colorado River at Yuma. In 1945, a treaty with Mexico further unbalanced the deal. There’s more information here.

    Today, the Upper Basin states use only a quarter of the river’s water, while the Lower Basin states use more than double that. Add in Mexico, which has been allocated 1.5 million acre-feet, and the Lower Basin uses two thirds of the river. The Upper Basin, including Colorado, has already surrendered 3 million acre-feet of our compact entitlement, our water right, to the Lower Basin to deal with this over-allocation.

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    Posted by Dana West @ 6:12 pm for Adams County Politics, Climate Change, Colorado politics, Denver area politics, Editorial, Energy, Issues, Legal Issues, National politics, NSRF Business, Transportation |

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