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PRESS RELEASE: Lake Powell Doomed as Colorado Stops “Demand Management”

March 25, 2022
For Immediate Release
Contact:
Gary Wockner, Save The Colorado, 970-218-8310
Daniel P. Beard, former USBR Commissioner, danielpbeard@gmail.com

Lake Powell Doomed as Colorado Stops “Demand Management”

“CWCB’s decision to stop a flawed demand management program is a welcome decision. It seems as if common sense has trumped wishful thinking.” — Daniel P. Beard, former Commissioner of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation 

Colorado River: Last week, the Colorado Water Conservation Board revealed that they are putting a “hard pause” on so-called “demand management” to focus on protecting water users in Colorado rather than trying to save Lake Powell. This move by the State of Colorado likely seals the fate of Lake Powell and Glen Canyon Dam. Demand management proposed buying and leasing up to a million acre-feet of water from farmers, and running that water down into Lake Powell to try and save the U.S.’ second largest reservoir.

The Colorado Sun broke the story at 4:00am today, posted here.

With Colorado stopping the program and focusing instead on “what can be done this year to help Colorado water users with the challenges presented by the dry conditions impacting the state”, demand management faces a likely certain demise unless the federal government were to step in and condemn farm water in the states of Colorado, Wyoming, and Utah to force that water downstream into Lake Powell.

“CWCB’s decision to stop a flawed demand management program is a welcome decision,” said Daniel P. Beard, former Commissioner of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. “It seems as if common sense has trumped wishful thinking. The reality of climate change and drought will speed the demise of Lake Powell and the abandonment of Glen Canyon Dam. State and federal officials should join Save The Colorado in finding acceptable approaches to make the Colorado River through Glen Canyon wild again.”

Two months ago, Save The Colorado and a small coalition of funders launched the “Rewilding the Colorado River” contest that seeks engineering solutions to make the Colorado River flow freely around or through Glen Canyon Dam.

With the CWCB’s decision, the State of Colorado is essentially adopting the exact position promoted by former Commissioner Beard and Save The Colorado director, Gary Wockner, who co-wrote a column in 2021 titled, “Drain Lake Powell, Not Colorado Farms” posted here in the Durango Herald. In fact, the Colorado Sun story emphasizes that Colorado leaders are very concerned about the demise of massive swaths of farms to save the doomed reservoir.

“The Feds and states should plan a ‘just collapse’ for Glen Canyon Dam and Lake Powell,” said Gary Wockner. “All stakeholders should be brought together to create a plan to decommission the dam, rewild the Colorado River, and minimize the pain while maximizing the benefit.”

Colorado’s move to stop demand management comes on the heels of Lake Powell declining to its lowest level in history today, and on the heels of the Bureau of Reclamation launching a $2 million study to find ways to run water through Glen Canyon Dam as the Lake approaches dead pool.

This press release is posted here.

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