NEWS RELEASE – JULY 19, 2022 (PDF Version)
Contacts: Alyx Richards, Upper Colorado River Commission (801-531-1150)
The Upper Division States of Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming, through the Upper Colorado River Commission (UCRC), have delivered a letter to the Bureau of Reclamation in response to Reclamation Commissioner Touton’s testimony at the Senate Natural Resources Committee on June 14, 2022. At the hearing, the Commissioner requested that the Colorado River Basin States develop plans by mid-August to provide an additional 2-4 million acre-feet (MAF) of water to the system the following year to protect critical elevations at Lake Powell and Lake Mead.
The Upper Division States recognize that all Basin States and water use sectors need to participate and collaborate on solutions that can bring the system into balance. The 5-Point Plan outlines additional actions and tools to help protect the Upper Basin’s critical infrastructure. However, the tools are naturally limited due to the shrinking supply of the river, depleted reservoir storage, and also due to previous drought response actions taken in the Upper Basin.
The effectiveness of the 5-Point Plan also hinges on additional actions implemented below Lake Powell. While there are significant investments in additional water conservation underway by some water users in the Lower Basin, Reclamation forecasts for 2022 show that overall water depletion in the Lower Basin plus Mexico is not significantly below 2021 levels. The Upper Division States stand ready to work with the United States, Basin States, Tribes, and water users to not only address the near-term risks in the Basin but also to develop longer-term solutions to improve the resiliency of the Colorado River.
A copy of the letter can be found on the UCRC website here.