Monday, May 1, 2023

Colorado River – Drought, Floods, Climate Change and Very Tough Politics

The shortage of water in the Colorado River is the top environmental issue and political tension point in 2023.
  1. The politics of the Southwest has shifted Democratic the last decade. With only one Republican governor, both the governors and senators in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, and New Mexico are Democrats. Will the new political orientation effect Colorado River policy and politics?
  2. The condition of the Colorado River is front page news regularly across the nation. The post drought/floods of the last few years have been like the transition in policy and politics after the Two Forks’ early 21st century drought periods. We are in a new era for water policy with a boost from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
  3. Negotiations with downstream water uses are the focus of attention. Tribes are new players and water justice themes are at the table. Colorado’s east-west divide is still a factor as is a lack of trust of state government.
  4. A question in Colorado for major providers is what’s next? Northern, after NISP, Denver Water after Gross Reservoir, Aurora Water, Douglas after Prairie Waters- WISE projects, El Paso post-Southern Delivery and whatever the Western Slope finally settles on (if anything). What is the next round of projects, policies, procedures? Where does the State Water Plan go next?
Map of the Colorado River basinMap of the Colorado River basin

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