Stressed Colorado River Makes News

May 13, 2022
In the last few weeks, most major and local news outlets have raised alarms about conditions in the Colorado River Basin and steep declines in river flows. A week ago, the Deputy Chief of Boulder Canyon Operations for the US Bureau of Reclamation held a briefing with the Director of the Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR) and the General Manager of the Central Arizona Project (CAP) to describe the very serious situation river water (and power) users face. They agreed that more must be done through voluntary conservation and innovative thinking to bolster the river. In the previous news cycle, the big story was the megadrought that continues to grip the southwestern US. According to some observers, drought, climate change, and the potential need for rapid reductions in water use augur levels of discomfort and sacrifice unseen since the development of the Colorado River system. Even Tucson, with its high-priority water subcontract and millions of gallons of stored CAP water, will feel impacts if the drought persists another decade. The Arizona Municipal Water Users Association (AMWUA) attempted in its blog this week to explain what is going on and what it means to residents of the Phoenix metro area. Other articles in the Arizona Daily Star and Phoenix Republic, among others, have presented in-depth examinations of various aspects and impacts. Most writers acknowledge that there is still time to avoid the worst-case impacts, but changes in how water is used are inevitable.  Recent articles, including an op-ed from ADWR Director Tom Buschatzke and CAP General Manager Ted Cooke are linked below.