Save the date and register for the Colorado River District’s Annual Water Seminar set for 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019 at Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction.
Uncertainty: You can count on it; Feast or famine on the Colorado River is the theme of this year’s affordable, one-day briefing on important Colorado River challenges. As the theme suggests, the historic poor snow year of 2018 was completely reversed by the healthy snowpack of 2019 and the unusual runoff, which continues to be strong.
But only the fifth above-average year in the last 19 does not ease up the long-term pressure on the Colorado River system. The seminar will explore the drought contingency plans in the Colorado River basin to cope with uncertain hydrology, warming temperatures and low reservoir levels at Lakes Powell and Mead.
The cost to attend is $35 in advance and $45 at the door; the cost includes lunch. Note the new location of the seminar due to renovations at Two Rivers Convention Center in Grand Junction.
Seminar topics will cover the differences between 2018 and 2019, a study that details how much of the river is used by the state and by the western Colorado basins; their exposure to risk under the Colorado River Compact of 1922; what the states and federal government are doing about it; and more.
Among the speakers will be Anne Castle, a top former Department of Interior executive who oversaw water and science in the Obama administration; author Eric Kuhn, who has co-written a book coming out this fall entitled “Science Be Dammed;” Andy Mueller, General Manager of the Colorado River District; and Colorado Department of Agriculture Secretary Kate Greenberg (invited).
Our 2018 Annual Water Seminar, “Risky Business on the Colorado River” was held on September 14th in Grand Junction, Colorado.
We heard from speakers with the Southern Nevada Water Authority, the Utah Division of Water Resources, a member of the Board of the Colorado Water Conservation Board, the Colorado River District and others.
The images on the left are linked to the video recordings and the images on the right, when applicable, are linked to the presentations of the respective speakers.
This year’s seminar addressed the 18 years of dry hydrology that has lowered water levels at Lake Powell and increased the risk of losing the ability to generate critical power revenue, and more importantly, starting a risky path to Colorado River Compact administration.
Risky Business Indeed: Water Planning in Colorado and Colorado’s Role in Big River Challenges
George reflects on water planning discussions resulting from the creation of and through the Colorado Water for the 21st Century Act, the Basin Roundtables, the Interbasin Compact Committee and most currently, Colorado’s Water Plan.
Colorado River Risk Study
The four West Slope Basin Roundtables, concerned about their future ability to develop the Colorado River as well as protecting current water uses, commissioned the Colorado River Risk Study to develop data to inform policy discussions. The study is being carried out by the Colorado River District and the Southwestern Water Conservation District.
What’s in the Cards for the Upper Basin
Mueller’s presentation included Colorado River District policy concerns on how the Risk Study informs potential actions that must be considered, demand management equity, and sustaining irrigated agricultural production.
Rolling the Dice in the Lower Basin
The Lower Basin states are working on their own Drought Contingency Plan. Pellegrino brought perspectives on how SNWA is working to protect water levels in Lake Mead and water supply for the greater Las Vegas area.
Visual Food for Thought: Water, Agriculture and Land
Martin’s current research project, “LandRush” explores the impact of large-scale agronomy investments on rural economies and land rights, the boom of renewable fuels, the reallocation of land and the future of agriculture around the world.
What’s Up With Utah/The Battle Against Salt
Millis gave a Utah perspective on news about the Lake Powell Pipeline and the state’s views on Drought Contingency Planning. Wearing his salinity control hat, he provided an update about reducing salt loading in the Colorado River.
Panel Discussion: Jim Pokrandt, Marti Whitmore, Russell George, Colby Pellegrino, Eric Kuhn, Eric Millis & Andy Mueller
This moderated panel drilled down into the issues discussed earlier and engaged in a lively audience question-and-answer session.