Colorado River System Water Planning

Study of Water Supply Augmentation Options

In furtherance of the Agreement Concerning Colorado River Management and Operations signed by the governors’ representatives for the seven Colorado River Basin states in April 2007, the seven basin states caused to be prepared a technical report on the Study of Long-Term Augmentation Options for the Water Supply of the Colorado River System, which report was issued in March 2008. Augmentation options that were considered and evaluated in the report include brackish water desalination, coalbed methane produced water, conjunctive use (banked water), ocean water desalination, power plant consumptive use reduction, reservoir evaporation control, river basin imports, stormwater storage, vegetation management, water imports using ocean routes, water reuse and weather modification.

Colorado River Basin Study 

In June 2009, the seven Colorado River Basin states and the Bureau of Reclamation staff in the Upper Colorado and Lower Colorado regions developed a joint proposal for preparation of a Colorado River Basin Water Supply and Demand Study. The study proposal was selected by Reclamation in late 2009 for funding under Reclamation’s Basin Studies Program. The Bureau of Reclamation and appropriate agencies representing each of the seven Colorado River Basin states in February 2010 executed an agreement on the plan of study and cost-sharing contributions for the study. The study is to be completed by 2012, and will quantitatively assess water supplies, demands and potential shortages throughout the Colorado River Basin with and without possible climate change. The study also will identify needs and options for augmenting supplies in the basin that might avoid or mitigate potential future shortages in the basin.

Studies of Saltcedar Control relating to the Colorado River Basin 

The seven Colorado River Basin states in May 2008 entered into a Memorandum of Understanding to coordinate activities for the management and control of tamarisk and Russian olive in the Colorado River Basin. In July 2008, the seven basin states entered into an amendment to the Memorandum of Understanding to provide for the preparation of a study to assess issues associated with phreatophyte management in the Colorado River Basin. The Colorado River Basin Tamarisk Assessment, prepared by the Tamarisk Coalition for the basin states, was completed in December 2009. The assessment identified several geographic areas in the Upper Basin and several areas in the Lower Basin for which potential demonstration projects might be developed and submitted to the Bureau of Reclamation for cost-sharing pursuant to the Salt Cedar and Russian Olive Control Act enacted in 2008 in order to determine the types of areas where water might actually be salvaged or recovered in the river system. The US Geological Survey in 2010 issued a scientific investigations report on Saltcedar and Russian Olive in the Western United States.