PRESS RELEASE: 2nd Draft Colorado Water Plan Fails To Protect Colorado River

For Immediate Release
July 7, 2015
Save The Colorado
Contact: Gary Wockner, Executive Director, 970-218-8310

Second Draft Colorado Water Plan Fails To Protect Health of Colorado River Ecosystem

“At the very same time that a major alarm clock is going off at Lake Mead, every Upper Basin state including Colorado is hitting the snooze button. Everyone thinks they’re entitled, but they ain’t no water left to be entitled to.” — Gary Wockner, Save The Colorado

 

Colorado River, USA — Today the State of Colorado, Water Conservation Board, released the second draft of the Colorado Water Plan. In the works for two years and set to be finalized at the end of 2015, the 479-page second draft (link here) fails to mead12321protect the health of the Colorado River ecosystem. In its beginning pages, the draft says it “will defend Colorado’s compact entitlements” (page 6).  The beginning of Chapter 8 gets right to the bone of the issue when it says the Plan’s goal is to: “Protect Colorado’s ability to fully develop compact entitlements, and continue to support agreements that strengthen Colorado’s position in interstate negotiations while ensuring the long-term viability of Colorado’s interstate compacts and relationships.” (page 311, bold added)

“This draft plan protects Colorado’s water but does not protect the health of the Colorado River ecosystem,” said Gary Wockner, Executive Director of the Save The Colorado River Campaign. “Colorado is looking out for itself and not for the health of the ecosystem that supports the entire Southwest United States.”

Colorado is not in a unique position in this parochial stance.  Recently, both Utah and Wyoming have engaged in planning processes in which they too have said they aim to get all of their entitled water out of the Colorado River ecosystem (see link here, with sub-links to articles by Gary Wockner). Further, like Colorado, both states have multiple projects planned to further drain the Colorado River and its tributaries. All of this is happening as Lake Mead farther downstream continually hits its lowest levels in history, likely on the verge of an official shortage declaration by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation in the next few years.

“At the very same time that a major alarm clock is going off at Lake Mead, every Upper Basin state including Colorado is hitting the snooze button,” said Wockner.  “Everyone thinks they’re entitled, but they ain’t no water left to be entitled to.”

“The Law of the River is broken,” continued Wockner. “The Colorado River is drained dry at the end, is on life support in the middle, and is further threatened by the Upper Basin states at the top. The states are giving lip service by saying ‘we’re all in this together’ at the same time they are planning for the complete demise of the Colorado River ecosystem. Everybody is speaking for their state interest, but nobody is speaking for the river — nobody.”
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