When the State Water Resource Control Board supported the Quantification Settlement Agreement (QSA) in its Revised Water Rights Order 2002-13, it noted the importance of the QSA in realizing California’s Colorado River Use Plan, which was to reduce the State’s use of the river down to its 4.4 million acre-foot apportionment.
The QSA, at that time, was crucial as Arizona and Nevada saw growth and demanded their full apportionment. Prior to that, those States had not utilized their apportionment fully, which enabled California to exceed its allotment up to 5.2 million acre-feet.
As important as the QSA was at the time of its signing, its role continues to be pivotal today as California wrestles with an extended drought, one affecting the hydrology of the State Water Project in Northern and Central California, and the hydrology of the Colorado River. Lake Mead, the source of Colorado River water for Lower Basin States, including California, is experiencing historic low levels that could trigger a shortage declaration on the river within the next few years.