After reading Louis Meyer’s recent guest column on the Colorado River Compact, it is important to clarify two points.
The 1922 Colorado River Compact is not being renegotiated and probably never will be. In 2005, because of the drought on the Colorado River that began at the beginning of this century, the secretary of the interior directed the Bureau of Reclamation and the seven-basin states to develop additional strategies for improving coordinated management of the reservoirs of the Colorado River system.
The result was an agreement termed the 2007 Interim Guidelines for Lower Basin Shortages and Coordinated Operations for Lake Powell and Lake Mead. This operating framework expires at the end of 2025 and is currently being renegotiated by BOR, the seven-basin states, and for the first time includes the tribes that hold significant water rights in the Colorado River basin.
Colorado’s lead negotiator is Rebecca Mitchell, governor-appointed representative to the Upper Colorado River Commission.
In addition, Meyer said that the Lower Basin was granted the right to place “a call” if the Upper Basin did not deliver 75 million acre-feet over a 10-year consecutive period. There is no legal mechanism for the Lower Basin States to take such action. Ultimately, it would be up to the UCRC to make a finding as to the cause of depleted flows at Lees Ferry.
I do appreciate Meyer’s desire to educate residents on the current issues of the Colorado River.