Legal Alert - The United States and Several Western Water Providers Enter into a Historic Agreement to Mitigate the Effects of the Drought Affecting the Colorado River System
by Cynthia M. Chandley, L. William Staudenmaier, Christopher W. Payne and Karlene E. Martorana
The Colorado River and its extensive system of reservoirs and aqueducts that range from Wyoming to the Mexican border are being depleted by more than a decade of severe drought. As a result, the water levels in the two largest man-made reservoirs in the nation—Lake Mead and Lake Powell—are reaching critically low levels. If the water levels in Lakes Mead and Powell continue to decline as projected by current Colorado River modeling studies, the lakes could soon reach levels that would trigger shortages along the Colorado River system. These shortages would affect the ability of some water users to continue to receive Colorado River water and could also impact the production of hydroelectric energy along the Colorado River, affecting power supply and pricing to millions of consumers from Arizona to Nebraska.