Ensuring Long-Term Viability of the Colorado River System Through Early, Proportional Cuts to Water Deliveries During Low Water Years

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Created: Apr 29, 2019 at 9:49 p.m.
Last updated: Apr 14, 2020 at 4:58 p.m.
DOI: 10.4211/hs.51c963a16c9d46c4b091364a8b206269
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The Upper Basin of the Colorado River, under current agreements, must prioritize releases between 7.48 and 9.0 million-acre feet of water releases to the Lower Basin each year. These releases control Lower Basin deliveries which, until recently, were at least 8.23 million-acre feet per year. This delivery represents downstream allocations for Mexico, Native American tribes, and Lower Basin states. This report presents a management alternative that allows for proportional releases from Lake Powell based on inflows. Our results in RiverWare (CRSS) modeling show that Lake Powell is kept above power pool elevation longer than without the rule in place.

Subject Keywords

Resource Level Coverage


Coordinate System/Geographic Projection:
WGS 84 EPSG:4326
Coordinate Units:
Decimal degrees
Place/Area Name:
Colorado River Basin
North Latitude
East Longitude
South Latitude
West Longitude


Start Date:
End Date:




Derived From: https://www.usbr.gov/rsvrWater/HistoricalApp.html
Derived From: https://www.usbr.gov/lc/region/g4000/NaturalFlow/current.html
Derived From: Bureau of Reclamation. (2019, April 26). Lower Colorado River Operations. Retrieved from Reclamation: Managing the West: https://www.usbr.gov/lc/region/g4000/hourly/rivops.html
Derived From: Operations Group. (2019, March 5). Upper Colorado Region. Retrieved from Reclamation: Managing Water In the West: https://www.usbr.gov/rsvrWater/HistoricalApp.html
Derived From: Schmidt, J. C. (2016). Fill Mead First: a technical assessment. Logan UT: Quinney College of Natural Resources, Utah State University.
Derived From: Cooper, J. J. (2019, April 17). Trump signs Colorado River drought plan. KSL.com, pp. https://www.ksl.com/article/46533412/trump-signs-colorado-river-drought-plan.
Derived From: MacDonnell, L. J., Getches, D. H., & Hugenberg, W. D. (1995). The Law of the Colorado River: Coping with Severe Sustained Drought. Water Resources Bulletin, 825-836.
Derived From: Sandoval-Solis, S., D. C. McKinney, and D. P. Loucks. "Sustainability index for water resources planning and management." Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management 137.5 (2010): 381-390.
Derived From: Schmidt, J. C. (2008). The Colorado River. In A. Gupta, Large Rivers: Geomorphology and Management (pp. 183-224). West Sussex: Wiley.
Derived From: Summit Technologies, Inc. (2019, April 26). Lake Powell Water Database. Retrieved from lakepowell.water-data.com: http://lakepowell.water-data.com/
Derived From: Udall, B. (2019). Testimony of Brad Udall. The State of Water Reliability in the 21st Century, (pp. 1-15). Washington D.C.

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This resource has been replaced by newer version: http://www.hydroshare.org/resource/37d43993bb4243bbbb5d89610e1b61e3



People or Organizations that contributed technically, materially, financially, or provided general support for the creation of the resource's content but are not considered authors.

Name Organization Address Phone Author Identifiers
David E Rosenberg Utah State University
Jack Schmidt Utah State University

How to Cite

Manley, J. L., C. M. Elkin, B. Bollinger (2019). Ensuring Long-Term Viability of the Colorado River System Through Early, Proportional Cuts to Water Deliveries During Low Water Years, HydroShare, https://doi.org/10.4211/hs.51c963a16c9d46c4b091364a8b206269

This resource is shared under the Creative Commons Attribution CC BY.



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