[GUEST OPINION] Conservation accord is progress toward much-needed Colorado River deal

The Colorado River near Moab, Utah. The entire Colorado River Basin currently supports 50 million people, and that amount is expected to increase by 23 million between 2000 and 2030. A new USGS study shows more than half of the streamflow in the Upper Colorado River Basin originates as groundwater. /Credit: USGS
The Colorado River near Moab, Utah. The entire Colorado River Basin currently supports 50 million people, and that amount is expected to increase by 23 million between 2000 and 2030. A new USGS study shows more than half of the streamflow in the Upper Colorado River Basin originates as groundwater. /Credit: USGS

By Mike Connor | Arizona Capitol Times

(Editor’s note: Opinion pieces are published for discussion purposes only.)

Last week, the state of Arizona, city of Phoenix, Walton Family Foundation, and U.S. Bureau of Reclamation signed an agreement with the Gila River Indian Community to conserve 40,000 acre-feet of Colorado River water and dedicate that supply to protecting Lake Mead’s water levels. The agreement among this diverse group is another step in an ongoing program to conserve water and delay the onset of a declared shortage condition on the Colorado River – shortages that would hit Arizona first and hardest under operating rules set in place in 2007.

Overall, the agreement represents incremental progress – but even more significant may be the much-needed spark it provides to re-energize drought contingency discussions within Arizona and across the entire Colorado River Basin.

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