April 8, 2012--Feds release public input on far-reaching supply and demand study (Summit Voice)

Any way you slice it, the Colorado River simply can’t provide enough water on a regular basis to meet all the demands, ranging from municipal use to agriculture and sustaining healthy ecosystems for endangered native fish and non-native species important for recreation. There may be water years — like 2010-2011 — when there’s an apparent surplus, at least for a short time, but that water goes into storage, primarily in Lake Powell, to buffer against future shortages. Even with last year’s bounty, Lake Powell didn’t come close to filling. While water managers may dream about a series of wet years, the reality is that in the long term, use of the river’s water will continue to exceed. The only way to meet the demand is borrow against the river’s future by using stored water. This year, with snowpack in the key Upper Colorado Basin below 50 percent of average at the start of the runoff season, will be another one of those years when we go deeper into water debt. Some efforts have been made on the regional and local level to address the growing imbalance between supply and demand, including improved efficiency of operations, improved water conservation and storage, better municipal water use efficiency, augmentation of water supply, voluntary water transfers, conjunctively using surface water and groundwater, and extending supplies through greater reuse of water. Last week, the Department of Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation released proposals aimed at balancing supply and demand for Colorado River water. More than a third of the proposals (46 percent) centered on reducing demand.

To view the full article, visit the Summit Voice. For a copy of the original article contact the WIP at (970) 247-1302 or stop by the office at 841 East Second Avenue in Durango, Colorado.