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Last of State Memo
The Upper Basin Commissioners have created two work groups to analyze the technical and
legal challenges to accomplishing extended operation of CRSP reservoirs in the near future
should the need arise, and to suggest ways to overcome these challenges within the Law of the
River. The legal and technical work groups will also begin exploring the potential for
implementing demand management programs in the Upper Basin. The Commissioners will
review the work groups’ progress in early March and direct their continued efforts toward
implementation of a response to critical decline in Lake Powell storage. Then, once a framework
for these analyses is approved by the Commissioners, interested stakeholders will be invited to
We will be closely monitoring this winter’s hydrology to determine whether any of these options
must be exercised to keep Lake Powell from reaching a critically low storage level.
Moving forward, we will continue to update Colorado River stakeholders within Colorado as
2nd part of memo
Allowing Lake Powell to fall below minimum power pool would lead to the following
• Dramatically higher electric costs (potentially, current rates could increase two to four times)
for customers in cities and towns, farms and ranches throughout much of Colorado and the
elimination of funding for the important programs noted above that protect current and future
water use in Colorado.
• Reduced capacity to make releases from Glen Canyon Dam, resulting in releases that are
insufficient to keep the Upper Basin on course to comply with the Colorado River Compact
obligations that increases the risk of a Compact violation. A Compact violation could result
in protracted litigation with the threat of curtailment of water uses throughout Colorado and
the Upper Basin.
• Risk imposition of federal management of Upper Basin reservoirs with diminished Colorado
primacy on the management of the River and water rights.
Should extreme drought conditions persist, proactive steps are necessary to protect the Upper
Basin. In addition, Lower Basin actions to address shortages at Lake Mead should be
accompanied by Upper Basin actions. This basin-wide approach is in the best interest of
Colorado for several reasons:
1) Colorado needs to protect its use of Colorado River water;
2) Colorado must vigorously guard state primacy over Upper Basin water management;
3) Colorado stands to benefit from synergistic benefits arising from Lower Basin efforts; and,
4) Colorado must strategically position itself for future negotiations with the Lower Basin—we
are better positioned to do this if we can actively manage proper water elevations in Lake
In light of these real and immediate threats, the Governor’s Colorado River representative
directed a group of Colorado water advisors to engage with the other six Colorado River Basin
States in confidential brainstorming and system modeling for the purpose of developing an
emergency response plan. The Upper Basin group members evaluated options that could be
deployed in the near term to address Lake Powell elevations, and concluded that the Upper Basin
can respond to this emergency by taking two actions: 1) releasing increased amounts of water to
Lake Powell from other CRSP reservoirs in the Upper Basin; and, 2) implementing demandmanagement
programs to bolster Lake Powell (e.g. voluntary lease-fallowing or deficit
irrigation). Continuation of existing efforts, such as weather modification and phreatophyte
removal can also contribute, but these actions are less reliable. The additional water delivered to
Lake Powell would be “system water” and would be carefully managed so that critical storage
levels are maintained without triggering greater releases to the Lower Basin.
Harvey and all of you doubters here is some more propaganda, but this isn't from the Democrats, and also the water doesn't really just come from the tap.
M E M O R A N D U M
February 4, 2014
To: State of Colorado’s Colorado River Water Users
From: John McClow
Governor’s Representative on Colorado River Matters
Director, Colorado Water Conservation Board
Re: Contingency Planning in the Colorado River Basin
This memorandum is intended to inform Colorado stakeholders about the State of Colorado’s
contingency planning efforts given the possibility of critically low Colorado River reservoir
levels in the next several years.
The Colorado River supplies water to most of Colorado’s 5 million people. Basin wide, it
supplies 40 million people and irrigates over 6 million acres of agriculture in the Upper Basin
(Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming), the Lower Basin (Arizona, California, Nevada), and
Mexico. According to the United States Conference of Mayors, the combined metropolitan areas
served by the Colorado River represent the world's 12th largest economy, generating more than
$1.7 trillion in Gross Metropolitan Product per year.
The Colorado River system relies on two large regulating reservoirs: Lake Powell in the Upper
Basin and Lake Mead in the Lower Basin. Lake Powell is the main storage unit of the Colorado
River Storage Project (CRSP), the “bank account” that allows Colorado and the Upper Basin to
meet our Colorado River Compact obligations. Electric power generation from Glen Canyon
Dam at Lake Powell helps supply the electrical needs of 5.8 million people, including a
significant number of people in Colorado. Revenue from hydropower generation is applied to
several beneficial purposes, including salinity control projects and important environmental
programs (such as the Upper Colorado River and San Juan Endangered Fish Recovery Programs
and the Glen Canyon Dam Adaptive Management Program), repayment of the cost of
constructing the CRSP facilities, and paying project operating costs.
Severe drought since 2000 and a supply-demand imbalance in the Lower Basin (i.e.
more uses than inflow), have caused both reservoirs to approach critically low levels.
The attached graph illustrates the impact on Lake Powell storage elevation if we
experience continued drought conditions during the next few years that are similar to
the hydrology witnessed during the 2000-2012 period. Unless something is done in
response to these conditions, Lake Powell elevation could drop below the level at which
the reservoir can generate hydroelectric power (minimum power pool).
PILt is not a bonus it is an obligation that the Feds owe counties that have federal lands, for us to take care of their created issues. Specifically roads, public safety, emergency response, wildland fire and the list goes on and on. The problem is so regional in that states in the east and midwest have very little federal ownership while the later settled states of the west have millions acres of federal owned lands. if they want to sunset the payments, maybe they should sunset their ownership of Routt lands by the Feds and that they deed the lands over to the state, county or to be sold so that those lands would go on the tax role and pay their way. The big problem is that counties are not a big recepient of economy from fed lands, yes we get some marginal spin on sales tax but counties are not big recepients of sales tax dollars. Gauranteed if they decide to phase out the funds the counties will absolutely be required to phase out services directly related to federal lands and only undertake statutorily mandated services. Doug Monger
The first election question was in 1997 or 1998, it was a question specific to CR 14 and the reconstruction of that road. In my memory it failed two to one. Understand that the folks in much of the rest of the county were not interested in funding the re-construction of CR 14, many of the folks in STBT, North Routt, and West Routt, and many in South Routt were not interested in funding the reconstruction of that road that maybe they did not have personal benefit.
The second election was in 2007, where the county fronted a ballot question to work on many different roads in the county so that there was potentially more overall support for the question. It was more of a county question to address surfacing of roads, shoulders, safety and citizen service on a multitude of county roads county wide. It also failed by somewhere in a two to one vote. Probably in retrospect, the county question had part of the tax increase sunset and part of the tax increase not sunset, it was quite clear in my mind the non-sunset portion of the increase was not supported. The additional mill was 12.66, that might have been more than the voters could tolerate. Add on to that this was in 2007 when things were going ok, and ready to go into the recession starting in 2008. Doug Monger
Scott, John, and Dan, the project is neither dead nor does the county have the finances to move forward with the reconstruction. The county does own the right of way and the engineering to move forward with the project if some monies sometime become available either in grants or out of the annual budget (project estimated at $13 million +). The county could not continue to wait on grants that do not exist, and probably will not exist in the near future. We could not let the road further deteriorate we need to do what now looks like we should have been doing for eight yeas and that is to do maintenance, resurface culvert repair. We are keeping in our hip pocket the anticipation of doing the total reconstruction potentially in phases. We have directed staff to continue the thought of some construction especially in the most unsafe sections of the road while we put the road back into the maintenance part of our asphalt road system and at least not let the road get any worse. The road continues to be a high priority for the county's road system, but I'll remind all that the voters have told the county twice that it wasn't important enough to raise taxes for the reconstruction. Based on the direction of the voters we will continue to work on the reconstruction through existing revenue streams. Doug Monger Routt County Commissioner
The severance package had a rotten smell when it was first reported. It grows worse as it goes along. I was absolutely astounded by the $$$ when it was first reported (golden parachute), I guess things might be getting a clearer as to what, when, how, and why. As presented it doesn't put a good picture on government and more specifically in this case Higher Education. Then remember who presently is paying for the cost of higher education, students borrowing money. Thanks to the other board members for taking the issue to task. Doug Monger
Yes it will be amazing to see how much private development (hence the URA and Tax Increment Financing) will ensue with the landscaping provided. I want to pick my flower. Can't hardly stand myself on the value of it all. This whole thing is a wish list that was financed by other entities taxes based on the concept of private development. Where is the private development other than what would have happened anyhow. The folly of it all is that the area gets declared a blighted area, and the Ski Time Square fiasco ensures that it truly is blighted. Go figure.
I couldn't agree more about how frustrating this all is. I agree with the comments about the concept that we need to support all activity that is environmentally friendly. Unfortunately the environmentalists don't agree with that concept, we wouldn't want to have any other type of environmentally friendly type of energy compete and or conflict with the environmentalists sacrificial COW of wind and solar energy. It truly reflects on how much subsidy that this cow needs to be fed to be competitive in the world wide energy market (not to even mention the concept of being competitive with the carbon and coal energy). I lobbied at the County Commissioners meeting in Denver on this bill as well as another bill that I will also talk about in a minute. A new commissioner from another county flat out said that if we allow this it will reduce the viability of wind and solar. One has to wonder what the real goal of this all is, is it environmentally friendly or is it only a wind and solar captive market The second bill that was also killed during this whole fiasco was a bill that communities in Southeast Colorado wanted to support in that it created energy off of municipal trash. This bill would simply allow the process to be qualified as green and eligible for the Renewable Energy Credit thereby allowing some form of additional cash flow. Without the additional cash flow, the process does not pencil out, so we continue to put more trash in the ground and no benefit to the community or the environment. This process was some sort of process that did not even require burning or anything yet had the opportunity to reduce our landfill impacts and provide electricity. On top of that the end result/byproduct of the process would be put on Ag fields to provide nutrients/fertilizer. That bill was also killed on a party line vote the same week. I don't disagree that these two products are not Renewable, but maybe we need to change the Renewable Energy Credit (REC) to an Environmentally Sound Energy Credit (ESEC) and reduce the captive position of subsidized energy. Doug Monger
Positively wish Jack (Senator) Taylor the best in his recovery. We did not always agree on issues, but he has been a great public servant and I believe that he always had the values of his citizens in his thoughts and in his votes.
Last login: Friday, February 14, 2014
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