Martz Summer Conference (3rd: 2011: Boulder, Colo.)
Presenter: Lawrence J. MacDonnell, University of Wyoming College of Law
MacDonnell, Lawrence J., "SLIDES: Thinking the Unthinkable" (2011). Navigating the Future of the Colorado River (Martz Summer Conference, June 8-10).
Thinking the Unthinkable: Reducing Prospective and Existing Uses
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Competition for scarce Colorado River water resources is nothing new, but the conflicts that prompted the seven basin states to negotiate the 1922 Colorado River Compact have grown considerably fiercer and more complex in recent decades. In 2007, responding to the challenges of increasing demand and sustained drought, the seven basin states and a number of other affected interests agreed to a set of interim guidelines for allocating Colorado River water in the event of shortages. This agreement represents an important evolution in the governance of the Colorado River, suggesting that the many interests in the basin can work together to address shared risks, concerns, and needs. Yet, an increasing number of experts predict that this agreement alone will not be sufficient to address the many challenges ahead.
This conference examined current laws and policies governing Colorado River management, highlighted new developments and studies that will inform future decisions, and explored a broad range of options for addressing the identified challenges and opportunities. This forward-looking conference focused on one broad question: What future do we envision for the Colorado River, and what will it take to get there?