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April 17, 2019
Contact: Gary Wockner, Save The Colorado, 970-218-8310
Navajo Utah Water Rights Settlement Bill Further Undermines Drought Contingency Plan
Yesterday President Trump signed the “Colorado River Drought Contingency Plan”, part of which endorses “demand management” in the Upper Basin (WY, CO, UT, NM) to try and save Lake Powell. Water managers in the Upper Basin say they will try to buy 200,000 acre feet of water to store in a “water bank” in Lake Powell.
At the exact same moment, the Utah congressional delegation has introduced a bill into Congress called the “Navajo Utah Water Settlement Act” that authorizes 81,500 acre feet of additional diversions out of the San Juan River (and nearby groundwater) before the river reaches Lake Powell, and provides $210 million to do it. Story here: http://navajopost.org/sen-mitt-romney-embraces-indian-country/
This Act adds to the ~400,000 acre feet of proposed new diversions of water out of the Colorado River and its tributaries before the river reaches Lake Powell. Those projects are listed here: http://savethecolorado.org/campaigns/fighting-irresponsible-water-projects/
By any measure, the Drought Contingency Plan is ‘one step forward, two steps back’, as the very same states/agencies that are supporting the Plan are also trying to drain twice as much water out of the river before the river reaches Lake Powell as the Plan proposes to add to the Lake Powell.