Cutting Colorado River Use: The California Plan
This issue updates progress on crafting and implementing California’s 4.4 plan to reduce its use of Colorado River water by 800,000 acre-feet. The state has used as much as 5.2 million acre-feet of Colorado River water annually, but under pressure from Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt and the other six states that share this resource, California’s Colorado River parties have been trying to close the gap between demand and supply. The article – delayed to include the latest information from Babbitt’s Dec. 17 speech in Las Vegas – includes information on the three most difficult pieces of the 4.4 plan puzzle: water conservation/transfers; quantification of agricultural water use; and the future use of “surplus” Colorado River water. In addition, it explores environmental issues and has a sidebar with excerpts from Babbitt’s annual speech to the Colorado River Water Users Association.