The Colorado River is often described as the most regulated river in the world.
More water is exported from the basin than from any other river in the U.S.
The Colorado River provides municipal and industrial water for more than 24 million people living in the major metropolitan areas of Los Angeles, Phoenix, Albuquerque, Las Vegas, Salt Lake City, Denver, San Diego and hundreds of other communities in seven states.
The US retains 95 percent of the Colorado River's water and Mexico gets what's left over. Most years this is about 1.5 million acre feet, roughly the same amount that Sonoran desert farmers were using to irrigate their bean and onion fields in 1922.
The 1974 Colorado River Basin Salinity Control Act authorized the use of federal funds to help control salinity in the Colorado River, including construction of a desalination plant near Yuma, Arizona.
The plant was to desalt 80,000 acre-feet of return irrigation flows from farmers in the Welton Mohawk Irrigation District prior to the water being delivered to Mexico.
The desalting plant was completed in 1992 at a cost of $280 million.
The annual operating costs are estimated to be in excess of $25 million. The water desalination plant operated for nine months before floods and design flaws forced it to close.
In the 1800s and early 1900s, a sizable agricultural development emerged in California ’s Imperial Valley
At that time, water was delivered to the valley from the Colorado River in a canal that passed through Mexico. Mexico allowed Imperial Valley farmers to use the channel in exchange for a portion of the water. us bureau of reclamation
In 1900s-1910s California wanted to construct an „ A ll-American Canal“ t o bring Colorado River water to the Imperial Valley, build a flood control dam and storage reservoir on the lower mainstem Colorado River, and develop hydroelectric power to meet needs of its growing population.
The seven states worked with the federal government and negotiated the Colorado River Compact on November 24, 1922.
The compact split the river system into an Upper Basin comprised of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming and a Lower Basin comprised of Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah.
Recent Development: Colorado River Management Strategy 2007
First, the new guidelines establish rules for shortages – specifying who will take reductions and when they take them. This is essential for prudent water planning in times of drought.
Second, the new operational rules for Lake Powell and Lake Mead will allow these two massive reservoirs to rise and fall in tandem, thereby better sharing the risk of drought.
Third, the new guidelines establish rules for surpluses, so that if the basin is blessed with ample runoff, the Department of the Interior will have rules in place to distribute the extra water.
Fourth, the new rules will address the ongoing drought by encouraging new initiatives for water conservation.
Thank you! Useful Webpages US Department of the Interior http://www.usbr.gov/lc/region/g1000/lawofrvr.html Salinity Control Program http://www.usbr.gov/dataweb/html/crwq.html Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colorado_River