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PRESS RELEASE: Upper Basin Colorado River Response to BuRec is Meaningless Gibberish

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

Upper Basin Colorado River Response to Bureau of Reclamation is Meaningless Gibberish

Colorado River, USA: Yesterday, the Upper Basin states in the Colorado River basin — NM, CO, WY, UT — sent a letter to the Bureau of Reclamation (BuRec) describing how these states would respond to the historic drought and mandate from BuRec to “conserve 2 – 4 million acre feet of water”. That letter is posted here. Unfortunately, the states’ “5 point plan” does nothing but continue the status quo that has pushed the river to collapse already.

Point 1 in the Plan is to restart the “System Conservation Pilot Program (click here)“, which was a project that paid farmers to not divert water over a period of 4 years starting in 2014. However, the Plan makes no mention that this “Program” was extremely minimal and that in its final and best year it paid farmers to not divert ~25,000 acre feet of water.

Point 2 in the Plan is to drain more water out of Upper Basin reservoirs above Lake Powell. However, the Plan makes no mention of what everyone knows — draining Upper Basin reservoirs does not make more water and merely robs Peter to pay Paul.

Point 3 in the Plan is to “consider an Upper Basin Demand Management Plan”. However, the Plan makes no mention that only Colorado was moving forward with such a proposal which was nixed because Colorado farmers did not agree to it because it would “wipe out irrigated agriculture”.

Point 4 in the Plan is to “measure, monitor, and report” water use better. HUH? How will this make more water? How will it save millions of acre feet of water?

Point 5 in the Plan is to continue the Upper Basin’s ongoing “water conservation programs”. Again, HUH? These programs are exactly what has helped create the crisis.

Finally, the letter makes no mention — ZERO — to BuRec that the Upper Basin is still moving forward with proposals, permits, and some construction to divert a new 400,000 acre feet of water out of the river before it reaches Lake Powell EVERY YEAR. Over a dozen dam, reservoir, and pipeline projects are planned — all listed here on our website (also see this E&E News story) — that are being completely swept under the rug. As two quick examples, Northern Water in Northern CO, and Denver Water, are both building major dam projects right now that would take a new 45,000 acre feet of water out of the river every year (those projects are reported on here).

“The Bureau of Reclamation has asked the Fox to guard the Hen House,” said Gary Wockner of Save The Colorado. “And not surprisingly, the Fox is planning to continue eating Hens and continue the status quo. This Plan by the Upper Basin States is meaningless gibberish.”

This press release is posted here.

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