Colorado River is indeed the most debatable water in the world. With the drought and climate change taking place, each state that relies on the river are jostled.
Lake Mead storage reservoir on the Colorado River gives uneasiness for those in the desert agriculture because of the worsening drought and falling water levels. Even with the seniority, the probability can still be real that the source of water could be in danger if the water level at the Mead falls short. But leaving the good things with the seniors explains it better as they know it and their purpose is to look after it.
One such indication is the low desert farming regions in Arizona and California where Colorado River surface water irrigated in vegetable fields permits the cultivators to produce about 95 percent of the nation’s supply of winter veggies. The same with their Texas counterparts on which desert vegetable growers have a good thing going with senior water rights on the Colorado River.
In a panel discussion held at the Yuma County Agriculture Water Conference in Yuma, Arizona last January, Terry Fulp, director of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamations’ Lower Colorado Region Colorado deliberated about the water disputes with about 200 farm water crowd.
According to Fulp, we are really blessed in the system to have this amount of reservoir capacity with the Mead and Powell combined. It is what makes the system work over time.
Fulp discussed generally a positive message on how the reservoir system on the Colorado River is working at lakes Mead and Powell which are both storage reservoirs.
“Lake Mead has worked well so far to achieve good water management for river water users in the lower Colorado Basin states – California, Arizona, and Nevada,” said Fulp.
Even though he is grilled on how well the collection of uphill water in high flow years and doll it out in low flow years which worked quite well to date, he believes that the flexibility exists in the laws and agreements which compromise the “Law of the River” that could work through immediate drought challenges.
“With Mother Nature throwing this drought and potentially the worst droughts at us, we tend to use up the flexibility. There could be a point at some time in the future where we hit the constraints of the Law of the River. I don’t believe this will happen in my lifetime,” Fulp added.