New study shows threat to Colorado River reservoirs

A new study is out that predicts we may need to make even more cuts to keep reservoirs on the Colorado River from going dry. We talked to Sarah Porter, the director of the Kyl Center for Water Policy at the Morrison Institute about this.

When describing the findings Porter said, “It’s a really important study and it makes a big contribution to the discussion about the management of the water supplies from the Colorado River that are so important to seven states and Mexico, 22 tribes, very significant river. The study mostly looks at a variety of different scenarios thinking about the water supplies for the upper basin which is New Mexico, Wyoming, Utah and Colorado and what the authors, who are experts in this area and multi-disciplines want to convey is that the current modeling that the water managers are dong in the official way with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation primarily don’t take into account sufficient likely but more extreme scenarios and so we have to take a harder look at some of the more dire scenarios on thinking about future needs.”

She continued to explain, “That I think is the most important contribution of the study is taking the data that the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation has, this big data set, and doing different kinds of modeling. I could make the case that it’s just as important to do that in Arizona and for the Lower Basin. There are constraints on the kind of modeling that’s done at that Colorado River manager’s level. As you can imagine there’s certain political consideration that goes into how the modeling occurs and so it’s very difficult for the parties in those negotiations to model certain kinds of things that could happen on the river that would be for example really devastating to some other users on the river.”

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Sarah Porter - Director of the Kyl Center for Water Policy at the Morrison Institute

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