PDF of the Press Release

For Release: Dec. 14, 2022

Contact:  Alyx Richards: 801-531-1150, arichards@ucrcommission.com

The Upper Division States of Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming, acting through the Upper Colorado River Commission (UCRC), in partnership with the Bureau of Reclamation, announced their intent to launch a System Conservation Pilot Program (SCPP) for 2023.  The SCPP is a key component of the Upper Division States’ 5-Point Plan to address the impacts of the ongoing drought and depleted storage in the Upper Colorado River Basin.  The 5-Point Plan was outlined by the UCRC in its July 18th letter to Reclamation Commissioner Camille Touton.  The Request for Proposals for SCPP projects is a major milestone in implementing the actions outlined in the 5-Point Plan.

The UCRC is seeking proposals immediately for the voluntary, compensated, and temporary water conservation projects for 2023.  The RFP is available here.  Project proposals must be submitted by February 1, 2023.  The Upper Division States and UCRC will review and select projects for implementation in 2023.  The full implementation of the SCPP is contingent on the passage of pending legislation in Congress and the finalization of the SCPP funding agreement between the UCRC and Reclamation, approved by the UCRC on November 21, 2022.  The goal is to have water conservation projects underway in April 2023 to reduce consumptive uses in the Upper Basin Colorado River system.

The SCPP is a significant step to begin to partially mitigate the water supply crisis in the Upper Colorado River Basin brought on by a drier climate and depleted storage.  The SCPP will provide short-term reductions to reduce some impacts in the Upper Colorado River Basin.  However, longer-term and durable solutions are needed to not only stabilize the system but to rebuild water supply resiliency in the Upper Colorado River Basin.  The Upper Division States, individually and through the UCRC, are committed to working with water users, Tribes, NGOs, Reclamation, and other stakeholders to develop, fund, and implement new water conservation, recycling, and water efficiency projects that benefit the Upper Colorado River resources.