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 5:26 p.m.
Last updated: Apr 29, 2019 at 5:59 p.m.
DOI: 10.4211/hs.7a16e00e18784efdaca086a9c05aa681
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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 (maf) of water to the Lower Basin of the Colorado River per year. This delivery is controlled by outflows from Lake Powell which until recently could not be less than 8.23 maf. This release represents the downstream allocations for Mexico, regional Native American tribes, and the Lower Basin states. This report presents a management alternative that allows for proportional releases from Lake Powell based on inflows. This report recognizes that any alteration to the existing schedule of deliveries from Lake Powell downstream is politically fraught. However, there is a pressing need to ensure that water and electrical demands are met, even if in lesser quantities, during the projected driest years of the coming decades. The results of the new rule show that Lake Powell is kept above power pool elevation longer than without the rule in place.

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Coordinate System/Geographic Projection:
WGS 84 EPSG:4326
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Decimal degrees
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Additional Metadata

Name Value
Levi Manley Author
Colten Elkin Author
Bryce Bollinger Author



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: 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: Udall, B. (2019). Testimony of Brad Udall. The State of Water Reliability in the 21st Century , (pp. 1-15). Washington D.C.
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: 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.



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

How to Cite

Elkin, C. M., B. Bollinger, L. Manley (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.7a16e00e18784efdaca086a9c05aa681

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



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