Reclamation Creates Pilot Program Spurring Collaboration to Retain Water in Lake Mead and Lake Powell

In collaboration with water municipalities and agricultural, as well as, environmental organizations, the Bureau of Reclamation has created the Colorado River System Conservation Program in order to improve water conditions in the Colorado River and maintain reservoir water levels, especially in Lake Powell. Cooperation across agencies aim to create programs that will maintain adequate water supplies, water quality, environmental resources, hydropower production and sales, agricultural interests and recreational activities while providing a platform were agencies’ and Upper Basin states’ concerns will be equally held into account. “This is not a one-sector or one-state solution. The pilot programs will demonstrate the viability of cooperative means to reduce water demand from any number of different sources where water is lost or consumed — agriculture, municipal and industrial,” said Frank Daley, president of the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association.

Currently, the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association, Colorado Farm Bureau, Colorado River District, Southwestern Conservation District, Denver Water, The Nature Conservancy and Trout Unlimited are collaborating on plans to collect and analyze data in order to develop programs that will retain water levels in Lake Powell and Lake Mead. Through the Colorado River System Conservation Program, participating agencies have $11 million in available fund to reduce the reliance and demand on the Colorado River Basin. The Bureau of Reclamation will continue to manage Lower Basin concerns around Lake Mead.

“We must control our destiny. The worst case is a compact call or a situation where the federal government determines how we will manage critical flows. We simply must work together to protect the future of this state, all our economies and critical industries to avoid a future compact call” said James Eklund, director of the Colorado Water Conservation Board.

Successful pilot programs will be gathered and become a part of a greater system that will be further developed and implemented on the state and federal level in time of extreme water shortage. In this basin-wide initiative more stakeholders are welcome as well as funding for outreach and education.

Written by Stratecon Staff