Nevada –– The Great Basin Water Network released the following statement after the seven Colorado River Basin states announced a deal to rework a new foundation for the Bureau of Reclamation’s Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for Near-Term Colorado River Operations.
“Today’s news is another stopgap measure to quell hostilities among the states and show a concerted effort to address longstanding accounting failures in the Lower Basin –– all of which should have been done 16 years ago,” said Kyle Roerink, executive director of the Great Basin Water Network, an NGO working on water conservation in Nevada and Utah. “The bureaucratic machinations between now and 2026, however, must finally address the reality that tomorrow’s means of river management won’t be adequate 10 years from now. The math of this deal appears to be an attempt by the Lower Basin to address the structural deficit and other accounting shortcomings for the near-term. The long-term equation –– with climate change devastating river hydrology at every turn –– is much more difficult to solve. That factor is exacerbated by the Upper Basin, where water managers plan to develop hundreds of thousands of additional acre feet in the coming years. Despite the kumbaya on display today, the balance of power between the Upper and Lower Basin remains precarious.”