SALT LAKE CITY – On August 8th, the Upper Division States of Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming, acting through the Upper Colorado River Commission (UCRC), completed funding agreements with the Biden-Harris Administration, the Department of the Interior, and the Bureau of Reclamation for $50 million over the next five years to install and improve water management infrastructure and drought mitigation data collection across the Upper Colorado River Basin.
With an initial investment of $8.7 million in the upcoming year, the new infrastructure will support best-available-science approaches to the implementation of the Upper Basin Drought Contingency Plan (DCP), help to protect critical infrastructure, and minimize the adverse effects of drought on resources and infrastructure in the Upper Basin.
A top priority for the funding includes the installation and operation of new eddy covariance (EC) and weather stations to help measure evapotranspiration, a key measurement for determining consumptive water use. Another focus for the funding will be the re-activation and installation of new key streamgages that can support the measurement of flows in important reaches in the Upper Colorado River Basin. The funds will also be used to evaluate the impacts related to ongoing drought mitigation efforts and to provide a science-based foundation for the development of new drought mitigation tools.
In addition to supporting the Upper Basin DCP, deploying these new tools and resources will allow for an increased understanding of the dynamics of water supply and use in the Upper Basin and enable the development of long-term solutions in the face of prolonged drought and climate change.