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PRESS RELEASE: Top Eight Questions About The Drought Contingency Plan

For Immediate Release
March 26, 2019

Contact: Gary Wockner, Save The Colorado, 970-218-8310

Top Eight Questions About The Drought Contingency Plan

Colorado River, USA: On Wednesday and Thursday (March 27/28), the Colorado River “Drought Contingency Plan” will be the topic of hearings at the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives. Save The Colorado suggests the “Top Eight Questions About The Drought Contingency Plan” that should be discussed during the hearings:

1. What Acts of Congress, and other permitting processes (EIS’, Records of Decision, etc.), does the Drought Contingency Plan supersede and/or nullify? Also, specifically, does the Drought Contingency Plan supersede or nullify the 2016 Dept of Interior Record of Decision on the Glen Canyon Dam Long Term Experimental and Management Plan EIS?

2. How does the Drought Contingency Plan protect the ecological health of the Colorado River and its tributaries?

3. Will the Drought Contingency Plan continue to allow the 100% draining of the Colorado River before it reaches the Gulf of California?

4. How does the Drought Contingency Plan support the four federally listed endangered fish in the Colorado River basin?

5. The Walton Family Foundation has played a very large role in Colorado River policy efforts – and in this Drought Contingency Plan – by funding environmental groups, university scientists and legal scholars, and the non-profit media with over $20 million/year. The Foundation commissioned a controversial 2015 manifesto guiding their work titled, “Liquid Assets: Investing for Impact in the Colorado River Basin”. How can the public be sure that the Drought Contingency Plan is not inappropriately influenced by the Foundation’s private investment goals?

6. The Upper Basin Drought Contingency Plan relies on buying or leasing hundreds of thousands of acre feet of water per year from farmers and cities in order to try to prop up Lake Powell.

  • How many farmers will be required to sell/lease their water?
  • How much water will it take to prop up Lake Powell?
  • Has the Bureau of Reclamation done a cost-benefit analysis, or alternatives analysis, of decommissioning Glen Canyon Dam and abandoning Lake Powell because it may not be worth saving?

7. Proposed new dam and diversion projects in the Upper Basin would drain 300,000 acre feet or more of water out of the Upper Colorado River and its tributaries every year. If there’s a risk of Lake Powell dropping too low to generate hydropower, then why is the Drought Contingency Plan supporting agencies in the Upper Basin to further dam and drain even more water out of the river system?

8. The Bureau of Reclamation’s 2012 “Colorado River Basin Study” indicated that climate change could lead to a decrease of up to 7.4 million acre feet of water per year flowing in the Colorado River, but the Drought Contingency Plan only offers hard solutions for a little more than 1 million acre feet in the Lower Basin, and however much water can be bought from farms and cities in the Upper Basin. Why doesn’t the Drought Contingency Plan take climate change seriously and plan for a significantly drier future?

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