Thursday, December 13, 2012

Colorado River Basin faces dramatic shortfall, federal study says

The Colorado River Basin will see a supply-demand imbalance of 3.2 million acre-feet of water by the year 2060, according to a study released Wednesday by the federal Bureau of Reclamation and the seven states in the affected region. In making that announcement, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, in a press briefing with media members participating by telephone, said the report endorses no single proposal for fixing the potential long-term shortfall. The first-of-its-kind study, authorized by Congress through the 2009 SECURE Water Act, produced more than 150 different proposals contributed by study participants, affected parties and members of the public. The Colorado River Basin spans parts of seven states -- Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, Wyoming and California. Water from the basin irrigates about 5.5 million acres of land, is depended upon by no fewer than 22 federally recognized tribes and is the lifeblood of four national recreation areas, seven national wildlife refuges and 11 national parks. Assistant Secretary for Water and Science Anne Castle, another participant in Wednesday's press conference, noted the contributing factor of a 12-year drought in the affected region. She said the looming shortfall is an issue "we simply have to tackle now, so that our children and grandchildren will have adequate supplies in the future."...more

I guess "our children and grandchildren" were bound to come up in a water debate.  The feds bring it up for every other program they try to sell. 

Thing is though, in November Interior did their "high-flow" releases on the Colorado, sending water at up to 42,000 cfs down the river to benefit fish and aquatic habitat.  Seems to me they're more interested in paying off the enviro lobby than worrying about adequate water supplies for our children. 

That one release cost the Western Area Power Administration,  the federal agency that markets the dam’s electricity, $1.4 million.  That’s the value of the power that won’t be generated as a result of outflows bypassing the turbines.  More releases are planned using the protocols established in May.  Be glad our children and grandchildren won't need any power...oops, I forgot about solar, wind and all those other successful energy projects.

Here's a photo of Interior taking care of the fish:



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