Southwest Basin Roundtable

At their May Southwest Basin Roundtable (SBR) meeting, John McClow, Colorado Commissioner on the Upper Colorado River Commission, gave a presentation on the history of the compacts guiding the administration of the Colorado River. John detailed the Lower Basin apportionment and Upper Basin compliance requirements resulting from these agreements, the sustained regional drought, and how the Law of the River has been adapted through the 2007 Interim Shortage Guidelines, and Minute 319 to temporarily address shortages. John explained the hydropower and operational impacts should Lake Powell’s elevation fall below the minimum power pool (see ‘Hydropower Production Threatened’ story under the water and energy section of this newsletter), and contingency plans currently being discussed to address those impacts. Roundtable members asked questions about the presentation. 
In addition, the SBR approved the funding of one project and heard two concept proposals, as well as a project update. They approved $38,000 for a Long Hollow Reservoir study in an effort to better meet the La Plata River Compact requirements to the State of New Mexico. The study would establish a plan for reservoir releases and stream administration. In addition, a representative from Trout Unlimited presented a concept proposal for $50,000 to improve a diversion dam on the Dolores River. The dam, located on U.S. Forest Service land, is maintained by Redburn Ranch, and often blocks fish passage for the majority of the year and inhibits the ranch from accessing its full water right. Also, a representative from the Thompson-Epperson Ditch Company presented the concept proposal for $30,000 to support the emergency repair of the ditch, which broke loose in a landslide in April. Finally, a project update was provided related to Crowley Reservoir. This is a privately-owned project located in New Mexico that supplies water to many irrigators near Chromo and has been declared out of compliance by the NM State Engineer’s Office. The fund balance for the SBR is was $541,177.