Unfortunately, water planners throughout the 7-state Colorado River region are planning even more new dams, diversions, and pipelines that would further drain the river and its tributaries. Here’s the continually growing and updated list of bad water project proposals in the Upper Basin of the Colorado River we are tracking closely and/or fighting to stop:
- Moffat Collection System Project in Colorado (15,000 acre feet — permitted, challenged in court)
- Windy Gap Firming Project in Colorado (30,000 acre feet — permitted, challenged in court)
- Wolf Creek Reservoir on the the White River in Colorado ( ? acre feet — hasn’t begun permitting yet)
- The San Juan Headwaters Project ( ? acre feet — local water district voters voted ‘no’ and sent the money back to the state)
- Irresponsible water use from the Animas-La Plata Project (? acre feet. New diversions will start soon — already built, but needs permits and MOUs for water use)
- Eagle River MOU (30,000 acre feet, not yet started permitting — story here and here)
- Six proposed new dams on the Fryingpan River in the Holy Cross Wilderness. (6,000 acre feet or more)
In New Mexico:
- Gila River Pipeline in New Mexico (12,000 acre feet — beginning permitting, but Governor nixed the funding. future unknown)
- Navajo-Gallop Water Project (36,000 acre feet — pipeline being constructed)
- Price River Dam in Utah ( ? acre feet — Corps halted BuRec’s permitting process, for now)
- Lake Powell Pipeline in Utah (86,000 acre feet — permitting process occurring now by the Dept of Internior, but will need other permits)
- Green River Water Rights Exchange (up to 50,000 acre feet. In litigation.)
- Flaming Gorge Pipeline (55,000 acre feet, water rights application filed which we “protested” in Utah State Water Court)
- Navajo Utah Water Settlement Act, 81,500 acre feet. Bill in Congress.
- Green River Oil Shale (10,000 acre feet/year, challenged in court)
- Fontenelle Dam expansion on the Green River in Wyoming (~125,000 acre feet — Trump signed bill giving WY the water right. Project has not started permitting yet. Temporarily put “on hold“.)
- The 280-foot-high dam on the West Fork of Battle Creek in Carbon County, a tributary to the Yampa. ( ? acre feet — hasn’t begun permitting yet)
- Big Sandy Reservoir Enlargment on the Big Sandy River, a tributary to the Green River. ( 2,435 acre feet — The “EA” has been released, and we put in comments about deficient the EA was.)
In Arizona in the Lower Basin: The Little Colorado River pumped storage hydropower proposal would dam and flood two miles of the Little Colorado River gorge.
Altogether, the proposals above would divert a new ~400,000 acre feet of water (or more, perhaps LOTS more) out of the Upper Basin of the Colorado River and its tributaries. In addition, state water planning processes in Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming are also yielding even more bad proposed water projects that we may address in the future. Nevada, Arizona, and California are also proposing new destructive water supply projects, including some proposals to settle Native American water rights that may include even more dams and diversions. Save The Colorado believes that our society needs to stop draining and destroying rivers and needs to focus on river protection and restoration. Thus, we are addressing the threat of these proposed irresponsible projects on many levels through science, law, and public advocacy.