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The many conversations in the Colorado River Basin to prepare for different reservoir operations by 12/31/2026
February 21, 2020
UNDER CONSTRUCTIONA chronology of the conversations initiated in 2005 for the development of Shortage Criteria Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), and finalized as 2007 Interim Guidelines EIS.
"...the Department intends to issue a notice through the Federal Register on or before June 15, 2005 to begin work on these matters. At a minimum, we will address the following matters in our upcoming Federal Register notice : 1) Development of Lower Basin Shortage Guidelines, and, 2) Development of Conjunctive Management Guidelines for Lake Powell and Lake Mead . It is my expectation that, regardless of the particular process utilized, the Department will complete these processes by December 2007." (page 3)
"This report points to several important scientific findings as they relate to Colorado River hydrology and climate. It also includes findings related to cooperation among the basin states and between scientists and water managers. It recommends that a comprehensive assessment of contemporary urban water management practices and other relevant water supply-demand issues be conducted, and that this assessment consider issues such as implications of agriculture-to-urban water transfers and regional water demand forecasting. In doing so, it defines an action-oriented study that could provide a more systematic blueprint for better managing water across the rapidly-growing and arid Colorado River basin. The cooperation that such a study would entail could also be useful. As the Colorado River basin enters another phase of coping with aridity and drought, future challenges promise to be more exacting than those faced in the past. As such, good scientific information, and good cooperation and communication at all levels, will be more important than ever."Scripps Institute - here we single-out Scripps Institute and based on time-proven accuracy and consistant appeals to society, since 1957, to initiate climate adaptation programs. For example, the concluding paragraph of this document:
1983 - Effects of a Carbon Dioxide-Induced Climatic Change on Water Supplies in the Western United States.
"Planning and construction of major water-resource systems have a time constant of 30 to 50 years. In the past, these activities have been based on the explicit assumption of unchanging climate. The probable serious economic and social consequences of a carbon dioxide-induced climatic change within the next 50 to 100 years warrant careful consideration by planners of ways to create more robust and resilient water-resource systems that will, insofar as possible, mitigate these effects."2008 - When Will Lake Mead Go Dry? From the Introduction:
"A water budget analysis shows that under current conditions [2007 Interim Guidelines] there is a 10% chance that live storage in Lakes Mead and Powell will be gone by about 2013 and a 50% chance that it will be gone by 2021 if no changes in water allocation from the Colorado River system are made. This startling result is driven by climate change associated with global warming, the effects of natural climate variability, and the current operating status of the reservoir system. Minimum power pool levels in both Lake Mead and Lake Powell will be reached under current conditions by 2017 with 50% probability. [Note: In 2014 the state of Colorado acknowledged potential hydropower loss at Glen Canyon Dam in this memo and recommended initiating contingency planning as the appropriate response]. While these dates are subject to some uncertainty, they all point to a major and immediate water supply problem on the Colorado system. The solutions to this water shortage problem must be time-dependent to match the time-varying, human-induced decreases in future river flow."
2009 - Sustainable water deliveries from the Colorado River in a changing climate. From the Introduction:
"With either climate-change or long-term mean flows, currently scheduled future water deliveries from the Colorado River are not sustainable. However, the ability of the system to mitigate droughts can be maintained if the various users of the river find a way to reduce average deliveries."
Unversity of Arizona - Pioneers in the assessment of climate regimes in the Holocene Epoch in regards to aridity, pluvials and floods. This includes dendrochronoly (Andrew Ellicott Douglass) and paleoflood hydrology (Victor R. Baker), and other interdisciplenary sciences.
2010 - COLORADO RIVER GOVERANCE INITIATIVE at CU Boulder
2014 - COLORADO RIVER RESEARCH GROUP at CU Boulder
2016 - WATER JUSTICE SYMPOSIUM at CU BOULDER & UW Laramie
2016 - CENTER FOR COLORADO RIVER STUDIES at USU Logan
2017 - CENTER FOR CLIMATE ADAPTATION SCIENCE AND SOLUTIONS at UA Tucson
2018 - CENTER FOR NATURAL RESOURCES AND ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY at UM Missoula
2019 - SCREE at UW Laramie
Department of Interior
Memo (2/7/20) from Bureau of Reclamation about the Section 7.D review of Interim Guidelines, now underway until December of 2020. In his 12/13/2019 remarks at Annual Conference of Colorado River Water Users Association (video), Interior Secretary Bernhardt stated:
THE PREFERRED ALTERNATIVE
ROD; Page 4
1. discrete levels of shortage volumes associated with Lake Mead elevations to conserve reservoir storage and provide water users and managers in the Lower Basin with greater certainty to know when, and by how much, water deliveries will be reduced in drought and other low reservoir conditions;
ROD; pages 5 & 6
1. A “Normal Condition” exists when the Secretary determines that sufficient mainstream water is available to satisfy 7.5 million acre-feet (maf) of annual consumptive use in the Lower Division states (Arizona, California, and Nevada). If a state will not use all of its apportioned water for the year, the Secretary may allow other states of the Lower Division to use the unused apportionment, provided that the use is authorized by a water delivery contract with the Secretary.
ROD; Section 6 on page 49
The Active Storage of water in Lakes Mead and Powell will be balanced before January 1st of each year. Active Storage refers to sufficient reservoir levels to keep hydropower operational. Hydropower production is a contract obligation. The water level below safe hydropower operations is called Inactive Storage. For Lake Mead this level begins at 1045 feet (27% of full capacity) and for Lake Powell this level begins at 3525 feet (35% of full capacity). Note: The ROD does not provide this level of detail.
Intenionally Created Surplus (ICS)
Page 11 - It is anticipated that the maximum cumulative amount of ICS would be 2.1 maf pursuant to Section XI.D. of this ROD; however, the potential effects of a maximum cumulative amount of ICS of up to 4.2 maf have been analyzed in the Final EIS. This alternative also includes modification and extension of the ISG (Interim Surplus Criteria) through 2026.
IMPLEMENTATION OF ENVIRONMENTAL COMMITTMENTS (page 16)
Page ?? - Lower Colorado River Multi-Species Conservation Program (LCRMSCP)
THE MISSING ISSUES
TO BE CONTINUED
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