Several organizations have compiled information useful to researchers, water users, and other parties interested in the past, present and future of the Colorado River. Rather than recompiling this wealth of assembled data, this site is intended as a portal to direct interested parties to existing compilations. Resources are organized in three sections:
CRGI Products :: Other (Third-Party) Compilations :: Other useful links and collections
The Colorado River Governance Initiative (CRGI) (an initiative of the Western Water Policy Program, based at the University of Colorado) is an ongoing project examining key legal and policy issues in the basin, and the types of processes and reforms that may be needed to reconcile the mismatch between growing water demands and declining long-term river flows. Resources (listed in reverse order of publication) include the following:
Cross-Boundary Water Transfers in the Colorado River Basin: A Review of Efforts and Issues Associated with Marketing Water Across State Lines or Reservation Boundaries(June 2013)
The Upper Basin Voluntary Demand Cap as a Means of Mitigating Legal Uncertainty in the Colorado River Basin: Modeling Results (April 2013)
Equity and the Colorado River: (Jason Robison and Douglas Kenney. Environmental Law, 42(4):1157-1209,2013.)
Technical Memo: Does the Upper Basin have a Delivery Obligation or an Obligation Not to Deplete the Flow of the Colorado River at Lee Ferry? (April 2012)
Technical Memo: Respective Obligations of the Upper and Lower Basins Regarding the Delivery of Water to Mexico: A Review of Key Legal Issues (March 2012)
Law of the River compilations (January, 2012). The following technical memos compile, in various ways, language from 20 key elements of the Law of the River primarily pertaining to water apportionments. As such, these memos are essentially technical appendices that inform the law and policy memos found in the CRGI library.
The Colorado River Law and Policy FAQ (version 2.0) (November, 2011)
The Organization and Status of the Department of Interior’s Programs and Studies on Climate Change in the Colorado River Basin (June, 2011)
Rethinking the Future of the Colorado River, the Year 1 CRGI Interim Report, which features the main report (focused on the supply/demand imbalance) and three technical appendices (December, 2010)
CRGI Products Coming Next Year (July 2012 – June 2013) (partial list):
- A review of past and present interstate water marketing proposals in the Basin
- An assessment of tribal water rights and their leasing provisions in the Basin
- Various synthesis documents
Other (Third-Party) Compilations
For extensive and multi-faceted collections of resources, we recommend:
The On the Colorado website, maintained by a multi-faceted consortium of NGOs, maintains an amazingly thorough collection of Colorado River news and events, law and policy documents, feature articles, and links to dozens of other organizations, websites, and sources.
The Western Water Assessment, a joint science-oriented project between the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the University of Colorado, maintains a Colorado River page that includes headings for Law and Policy, River Use Management and Planning, Regional Hydrology and Geography, Climate Variability and Change, Drought Impacts and Management, Restoration and Conservation, and Management and Research Organizations, among others.
The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation lists most of its Colorado River references at the Lower Colorado River office website. Particularly useful links include those associated with reservoir levels, water use patterns, and the law of the river. The site also houses information associated with the Colorado River Basin Water Supply and Demand Study, a joint study between Reclamation and the Basin states examining long-term issues of supplies, demands, and potential solutions. The website of the Upper Colorado River office has a wealth of information about Upper Basin facilities and environmental programs (including those associated with Glen Canyon).
Other useful links and collections:
As the name implies, the Save the Colorado website is an environmental advocacy oriented resource providing a concise overview of river threats (including climate change, population growth, invasive species, mineral development, and diversions).
The website of the Colorado River Water Users Association articulates the views of the largest collection of traditional Colorado River water users (i.e., irrigators, municipalities, power customers), listing specific policy resolutions primarily aimed at addressing problems of water scarcity and management conflicts.
The Colorado River Futures program of Carpe Diem West is focused on bringing together the region’s top thinkers and ideas to identify pathways for sustainable water management in the Basin, with a particular emphasis on stakeholder engagement. (Carpe Diem West is a close collaborator of the CRGI.)
The Rural West Initiative, part of the Bill Lane Center for the American West at Stanford University, is a collaboration between journalists and scholars investigating many key issues in the rural West, including the Colorado River “crisis.” The site features many relevant articles, comments, event listings, and other information sources.