Press Releases

Hickenlooper Welcomes Upper Colorado River States’ Realistic, Sustainable Proposal

Mar 6, 2024

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator John Hickenlooper welcomed the Colorado River Upper Basin States’ new proposal for long-term Colorado River management. The proposal comes as the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation prepares to weigh options from the Basin States for long-term water management when the River’s current operational rules established in 2007 expire in 2026.

“We can’t ignore the realities of a river with less water,” said Hickenlooper. “Today’s proposal from the Upper Basin States focuses on a pragmatic approach to addressing the supply and demand crisis of the Colorado River. It’s important we continue to work together to help manage our river – and our future – wisely.” 

The Upper Basin proposal offers an approach to sustainably operating Lake Powell and Lake Mead, the Colorado River’s two largest reservoirs, as the Basin grapples with climate change-driven drought and aridification. The proposal emphasizes the importance of developing management plans based on actual water supplies instead of projections. The proposal also recognizes the value of Basin-wide collaboration and acknowledges the settled but undeveloped Tribal water rights in the Upper Basin. 

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation will now analyze proposals for the operation of the Colorado River as part of a multi-year National Environmental Policy Act process to determine the river’s management rules after 2026. 

Hickenlooper recently announced that Colorado Commissioner to the Upper Colorado River Commission (UCRC), Becky Mitchell, will join him as his guest at President Biden’s State of the Union address tomorrow, Thursday, March 7th. 


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