Colorado River

Colorado River History

The Colorado River was once called the Grand River, and nearly 100 years ago, on July 25, 2012, Congressman Edward Taylor helped to persuade Congress to officially change the river’s name to what it is now. As Taylor stated of the Grand River, it is "a meaningless misnomer because practically everything in Colorado is grand."


Water Emergency Staved at Lake Mead

With unusually high rainfall in May and June, the second-highest level of precipitation during that period in the past 108 years, trailing only 1983, Lake Mead water levels were boosted thereby averting a possible water emergency that would have triggered cuts in water allocations next year. Officials had warned as recently as June that there was a 33 percent chance of a “Tier 1” water shortage in 2016, which occurs when the water level in Lake Mead drops below an elevation of 1,075 feet. A Tier 1 declaration would result in a cut of 320,000 acre-feet to Arizona’s share of Colorado River water, about an 11 percent reduction. In August the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) reported that there would not be an emergency declaration. Lake Mead’s elevation was at 1,078.24 feet at the end of August. In addition to dropping the chances of a Tier 1 declaration to zero for 2016, the BOR lowered predictions for 2017 from the 75 percent chance it was looking at this summer to just 18 percent in the latest report. While the findings are good news for all seven states in the Colorado River basin, the drought is definitely not over but this will buy time to find more collaborative solutions.


September 29, 2015--Water users seek ways to avoid forced cutbacks (Pine River Times)

The nightmare scenario for West Slope water nerds is a "call" on the Colorado River, meaning that Colorado, Wyoming, and Northwest New Mexico are not delivering a legally required amount of water to California, Nevada, Arizona, and Utah. If or when that happens, some water users in the three Upper Basin states will have their water use curtailed so that the Lower Basin sta


September 1, 2015--Spring rains boosted Lake Mead, heading off water emergency--for now (Arizona PBS)

Unusually high rainfall in the Colorado River basin this spring helped boost Lake Mead water levels, averting a possible water emergency that would have triggered cuts in water allocations next year. Officials had warned as recently as June that there was a 33 percent chance of a “Tier 1″ water shortage in 2016, which occurs when the water level in Lake Mead drops below an elev


August 24, 2015--Water fight stirs up old rivalries in Colorado (Wall Street Journal)

As many as 60,000 tourists raft the Colorado River above this scenic canyon town each summer, and local boosters want to keep them coming—by diverting some of the river’s flow to feed a new network of white-water recreation parks.


July 28, 2015--Family Farm Alliance Rrport: 'Colorado River Basin water management - principles & recommendations' (Water Wired)

The Family Farm Alliance is a grass-roots organization with the sole mission of protecting and enhancing irrigated agriculture in the Western United States.


July 22, 2015--California’s big groundwater problem (New York Times)

California struggles to measure how much water its heaviest users draw from its rivers and streams.


July 20, 2015--2nd version of water plan to set key principles (Grand Junction Sentinel)

The second version of the Colorado Water Plan offers some assurance to the Western Slope about the process for deciding how the state will deal with water issues, but it still leaves the Western Slope open to pressure from the east and west, water officials said. The second version of the plan unveiled this month also earned plaudits from environmental organizations for its emphasis on con


July 19, 2015--CO History: Grand River renamed Colorado River (9 News)

The Colorado River was once called the Grand River, a name that Congressman Edward T. Taylor said was "a meaningless misnomer.


July 17, 2015--How the West overcounts its water supplies (New York Times)

Paul Matuska is the closest thing the American West has to a water cop, and his beat includes Needles, Calif., a beleaguered desert town midway between Flagstaff, Ariz., and Los Angeles. About 4,800 people live in Needles, on the western bank of the Colorado River where it cuts a swath in the mud between California and Arizona.


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