PART THREE: The Physical and Social Sciences
ORDER OF PRIORITIES FOR COLORADO RIVER MANAGEMENT
2006 Arizona v California Decree
- 1) River regulation, improvement of navigation, and flood control;
- 2) Irrigation and domestic uses, including the satisfaction of present perfected rights (see notes below);
- 3) Hydropower;
- 4) Satisfy 1944 Mexican Treaty.
- Note: Present perfected water rights before June 25, 1929 (the effective date of Boulder Canyon Project Act). The water right holders between 1929 and 2021 carry the most risk toward shortage declarations; the younger the water right, the greater the risk.
- Note: Unlike state rights under prior appropriation systems, federal reserved water rights may remain unused for many years, and they are not subject to abandonment or relinquishment. (Reference)
- Note: Federal laws and treaties are always subject to executive, legislative and judicial changes.
STREAM FLOW AT CRITICAL GAGE STATIONS (Real Time)
Note: There are flow requirements for the recovery of endangered fish
- OTC Resource Page: Biological Opinions, Sufficient Progress Reports, Flow and Temperature Requirements & More
- OTC Article: The Endangered Fish of the Colorado River Basin
THE PUBLISHED POSITIONS FROM COMMENTERS OF 2007 DEIS
On The Colorado Website
- The Seven Basin States: "The Basin States have made tremendous progress over the last two years in setting aside contentious issues and reaching agreements regarding operation of the Colorado River system reservoirs. Since the Basin States originally forwarded a Preliminary Proposal and draft Seven States' Agreement to your predecessor on February 3, 2006 ("Preliminary Proposal"), the Basin States have finalized a number of agreements and proposals. These documents, which are described in detail below, incorporate and give further definition to each of the elements of the Preliminary Proposal and the Basin States' Alternative in the DEIS. The Basin States believe that if all material terms of the Basin States' Proposal are included in the ROD, it will establish the first comprehensive set of detailed operating guidelines in the history of the Colorado River."
- Dr. Tim Barnett (Scripps Institute): "I believe the model forcing changes could be estimated from existing information. They could be added to the existing simulations and the whole probability structure of future possibilities be made available to decision makers; at least then we would be taking a fairly realistic look at the future of the Colorado system under the climate change scenario.
- NGO Coalition: "We believe that the current NEPA process represents a significant potential turning point in the history of the Law of the River, one which offers significant opportunities for both water users and environmental values on the River – but which also carries with it significant economic, environmental, and diplomatic risks. The Basin States Alternative, and the Seven States Agreement upon which it is built, represents a significant potential step forward for water management in the Lower Basin; however, in isolation it does not step far enough to ensure the protection of environmental values in the Lower Basin and Mexico and assist the development of an international agreement between the U.S. and Mexico that will be necessary to implement the States’ proposed shortage policy."
CONSISTENT CLIMATE SCIENCE
NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES (NAS)
More from NAS
A suite of materials provided to the public by NAS on June 8, 2021
NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION
CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE
GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTIBILITY OFFICE
RESOURCES FROM UNIVERSITIES
Colorado River Rearch Group
Center for Climate Adaptation Science and Solutions; University of Arizona at Tucson.
Center for Colarado River Studies: Future of the Colorado River Project; Utah State University at Logan.
Center for Natural Resources and Environmental Policy; University of Montana at Missoula.
UPPER COLORADO RIVER COMMISSION (UCRC) (Website of the Commission)
RECLAMATION'S BASELINE DOCUMENTS
ANNUAL OPERATING PLANS (AOP) (Reclamaion website)
Bureau of Reclamation
1970; 1971; 1972; 1973; 1974; 1975; 1976; 1977; 1978; 1979; 1980; 1981; 1982; 1983; 1984; 1985; 1986; 1987; 1988; 1989; 1990; 1991; 1992; 1993; 1994; 1995; 1996; 1997; 1998; 1999; 2000; 2001; 2002; 2003; 2004; 2005; 2006; 2007; 2008; 2009; 2010; 2011; 2012; 2013; 2014; 2015; 2016; 2017; 2018; 2019; 2020; 2021; 2022; 2023; 2024; 2025; 2026;
AOP: The 30-year averages of unregulated flow into Lake Powell
- 1971 to 2000: 12.06 million acre-feet (maf) (2008 AOP)
- 1971 to 2000: 12.04 maf (revised in 2010 AOP). This 30-year average ended in the surplus tier at Lake Mead.
- 1981 to 2010: 10.83 maf (2013 AOP). This 30-year average ended in the normal tier at Lake Mead.
- 1991 to 2020: 9.70 maf (provisional data). This 30-year average ended in the shortage tier at Lake Mead.
- 2001 to 2030: 8.7 maf (trendline projection). This 30-year average will present shortages to the Upper Basin.
- 2011 to 2040: 7.8 maf (trendline projection). Economic stagnation?
- 2021 to 2050: 7.1 maf (trendline projection). Human and animal migrations?
AOP: The unregulated inflow by year into Lake Powell and by percent of the 30-year average
ARCHIVE OF 24-MONTH REPORTS
- 1981 to 2010: Year 2000 - 62%; 2001 - 59%; 2002 - 25%; 2003 - 51%; 2004 - 49%; 2005 - 105%; 2006 - 73%; 2007 - 68%; 2008 - 102%; 2009 - 88%; 2010 - 73%.
- 1991 to 2020: Year 2011 – 139%; 2012 – 45%, 2013 – 47%; 2014 – 96%; 2015 – 94%; 2016 – 89%; 2017 – 110%; 2018 – 43%; 2019 – 120%; 2020 – 54%;
Note: Reclamation website is HERE
24-MONTH REPORTS BY THE YEARS AND MONTHS
NATURAL FLOW AND SALT DATA
UPPER BASIN CONSUMPTIVE USE AND LOSS REPORTS
1971-1995; 1971-1975; 1976-1980; 1981-1985; 1986-1990; 1991-1995; 1996-2000; 2001-2005; 2006 -2010; 2011-2015; 2016 - 2020;
LOWER BASIN CONSUMPTIVE USE REPORTS
RESOURCES FROM BUREAU OF RECLAMATION
Colorado River System Simulation (CRSS). The software can be leased and downloaded HERE.
2012 Basin Study - Climate scenario; via FOIA fullfillment.
2010 to 2060 Projections; Run 21 (or Trace 21).
Reclamation graphics modified to enhance interpretation
2010 to 2060 Projections: Graphics modified by OTC.
This page is Part Three (physical and social sciences)
- Click here for Part One A: By date - News and Opinion
- Click here for Part One B: By subject - News and Opinion
- Click here for Part Two: Narratives - Old and New.
- Click here for Part Three: The Physical and Social Sciences
- Click here for Part Four: Solutions - Climate Adaptation, Sustainibility and Resilence
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