WRRC Water Webinar: Post-2026 Colorado River Operational Guidelines: An Overview of the Lower Basin's Alternative

colorado river

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Kristen Johnson
Colorado River Programs Manager, ADWR
Vineetha Kartha
Colorado River Programs Manager, CAP

Watch the recorded webinar

In response to the Bureau of Reclamation's Notice of Intent to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for a new set of operating guidelines for the Colorado River following the expiration of the current 2007 Interim Guidelines, Drought Contingency Plan, and other related agreements, the Lower Basin states of Arizona, California, and Nevada submitted an alternative for analysis on March 6, 2024. In this WRRC webinar, the Colorado River Programs Managers for the Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR) and the Central Arizona Project (CAP) will provide an overview of the goals and parameters of that alternative and the paradigm shifts in thinking captured in the new proposal.

Kristen Johnson headshot

Kristen Johnson joined the Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR) in March 2021 as the Colorado River Programs Manager. She is responsible for overseeing the technical staff working on the many issues affecting the state’s Colorado River entitlement and supporting ADWR Director Tom Buschatzke as the Governor’s Representative for Basin States/Colorado River negotiations. Immediately prior to joining ADWR, Johnson was the Government Affairs Specialist at Coachella Valley Water District (CVWD) and practiced law with the Department of the Interior’s Office of the Solicitor in Washington, DC, where she counseled the Bureau of Reclamation from 2008–2017. She spent a substantial amount of time in California and Oregon working in the Klamath basin. A native Chicagoan, Johnson’s interest in western resource issues was first roused during a summer spent outside Vernal, Utah on a paleontological field crew following her graduation from Washington University in St. Louis, where she obtained a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology. She also earned a degree from Southern Illinois University School of Law, where she taught Water Law as an adjunct professor. Johnson is licensed to practice law in Illinois and California.

Vineetha Kartha

Vineetha Kartha is currently employed by Central Arizona Project (CAP) as their Colorado River Programs Manager. In this capacity, Kartha and her team provide technical and policy support to management and the CAWCD Board of Directors on Colorado River issues, including developing and implementing strategic planning efforts and projects protecting and enhancing CAP’s interest in the Colorado River water supplies. Prior to that she worked with Freeport-McMoRan as their water resources manager working on water rights management issues across Freeport mines in Arizona. She previously served as manager for the Colorado River Management Section at the Arizona Department of Water Resources. Kartha has nearly two decades of experience working on water management and natural resource issues and holds two master’s degrees—one in Urban and Environmental Planning from Arizona State University and another in Geology from the University of Bombay. She also holds a post-graduate diploma in "International Negotiations and Capacity Skills" from the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna.