arizona colorado river

Western Resource Advocates: First-Ever Colorado River Shortage Declaration Requires Urgent Solutions to Protect Western Water, Rivers

The Colorado River cannot afford any significant new diversions, most notably the proposed Lake Powell Pipeline


Western Resource Advocates today released the following statement in response to the first-ever shortage declared in the Lower Colorado River Basin by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. The Tier 1 shortage is further indication that the Colorado River has entered a new abnormal that requires more urgent action to protect the river for the people and ecosystems that rely on it.

“This August 24-month study further sounds the alarm that the Colorado River is drying out and Western states need to act now to protect this vital waterway and its tributaries,” said Bart Miller, director of Western Resource Advocates’ Healthy Rivers Program. “Going forward, it’s essential for all water stakeholders and decision-makers to take an honest look at the Basin’s hydrology and accelerate coming together around solutions, from boosting water efficiency and reuse to getting demand management pilots and projects in place.

“Further, the Colorado River, its reservoirs, and its tributaries cannot afford any significant new diversions, most notably the proposed Lake Powell Pipeline. Western Resource Advocates’ recently released Local Waters Alternative 2.0 report recommends a number of strategies to avoid this unnecessary, massive water pipeline, which would further deplete the over-tapped Colorado River and Lake Powell. We urge federal and state-level decision-makers to reject the Lake Powell Pipeline in favor of this common-sense alternative,” continued Miller.

The proposed Lake Powell Pipeline would pump up to 86,000 acre-feet of water annually out of the already overstressed Colorado River to meet inflated future demands in Washington County in southwest Utah. The Local Waters Alternative 2.0 (LWA 2.0), a recently released detailed study, proposes solutions that would enable the county to meet its water needs without building this expensive, controversial, and wasteful pipeline.


Jamie Trafficanda, 720-763-3737,

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