DENVER – Today, the Department of the Interior announced representatives from the seven Colorado River Basin states have agreed to the submission of a Lower Basin, consensus-based system conservation proposal for analysis by the Bureau of Reclamation. The proposal would be analyzed under the Bureau of Reclamation’s ongoing draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) process.
“A step towards aligning Colorado River water use with the reality of our decreasing flows is a hopeful step towards avoiding catastrophe. We look forward to seeing Reclamation’s analysis of the Lower Basin’s proposal, with hopes this provides a path to a seven-state agreement.”
The consensus-based proposal submitted by the three Lower Basin states commits to measures conserving at least 3 million-acre-feet of system water through the end of 2026, when the current operating guidelines are set to expire. Of those system conservation savings, 2.3 maf will be compensated through funding from the Inflation Reduction Act. The remaining system conservation needed for sustainable operation would be achieved through voluntary, uncompensated reductions by the Lower Basin states.