A Significant River Milestone Was Reached This Month

An image of Lake Mead taken in March 2024. Photo by Dennis Davis, water resources specialist for the San Diego County Water Authority.

Though it occurred without much fanfare or media coverage, a significant milestone was reached on May 6 in the Colorado River’s near-term management when the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) signed the Record of Decision (ROD) to guide river operations through 2026. Though an important step, it was exactly what was anticipated: Reclamation approved the plan submitted by the Lower Basin to conserve 3 million acre-feet (MAF) of water through 2026 to help the river. While the ROD simply confirmed Reclamation’s intent to implement the Lower Basin Plan when it identified the plan for near-term actions on the river as the preferred alternative in March, the significance of this latest milestone is worth a discussion.

First, a bit of background is in order (though many

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