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The Colorado River Project
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The Colorado River Project


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A brief history and tour of the Colorado River with a focus on the Lower Basin and the Dams that affect the flow of the river. Includes videos and graphics.

A brief history and tour of the Colorado River with a focus on the Lower Basin and the Dams that affect the flow of the river. Includes videos and graphics.

Published in: Education, Technology

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  • 1. The Colorado River
  • 2. The Colorado River Project
  • 3. The seven US states of the Colorado River Basin
  • 4. The Upper and Lower Colorado River Basins. California contributes the least run-off.
  • 5. Law of the river • Law of the River • The Law of the River is a complex body of laws, court cases and regulations that control use of Colorado River water and the operation of its dams. • In the 1800s, states diverted water from the Colorado River and its tributaries without restrictions. As the diversions increased, a long battle over apportionment evolved. Today, the Colorado River is probably the most controlled, controversial and litigated river in the world. / Reisner, Marc. Cadillac Desert: the American West and Its Disappearing Water. New York, N.Y., U.S.A.: Penguin, 1993. Print.
  • 6. In 1922, the seven US basin states and two Mexican states began negotiations that led to the Colorado River Compact.
  • 7. The Colorado River Compact of 1922  The cornerstone of the "Law of the River“  defined the relationship between the upper basin states, where most of the river's water supply originates, and the lower basin states, where most of the water demands were developing  Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover suggested the basin be divided into an upper and lower half, with each basin having the right to develop and use 7.5 million acre-feet (maf) of river water annually. This approach reserved water for future upper basin development and allowed planning and development in the lower basin to proceed.
  • 8. The measurements used during the negotiations and subsequent allocation period were taken during two high water periods and do not factor in droughts.
  • 9. Laws, contracts and documents which are part of the "Law of the River"      The Mexican Water Treaty of 1944 - Committed 1.5 maf of the river's annual flow to Mexico. Colorado River Storage Project of 1956 - Provided a comprehensive Upper Basinwide water resource development plan and authorized the construction of Glen Canyon, Flaming Gorge, Navajo and Curecanti dams for river regulation and power production, as well as several projects for irrigation and other uses. The Criteria for Coordinated Long-Range Operation of Colorado River Reservoirs of 1970 (amended March 21, 2005) - Provided for the coordinated operation of reservoirs in the upper and lower basins and set conditions for water releases from Lake Powell and Lake Mead. U.S.-Mexico International Boundary and Water Commission of 1973 - Required the U.S. to take actions to reduce the salinity of water being delivered to Mexico at Morelos Dam. The Colorado River Basin Salinity Control Act of 1974 - Authorized desalting and salinity control projects, including the Yuma Desalting Plant, to improve Colorado River quality. / De, Villiers Marq. Water: the Fate of Our Most Precious Resource. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2000. Print.
  • 10.
  • 11. Salton Sea Riggs, Ransom. "YouTube - The Accidental Sea." YouTube - Broadcast Yourself. 12 May 2011. Web. 23 May 2011. <>.
  • 12. Timeline of Dams 1966 1936 1951 1938 1938 1905
  • 13. The Bottom up approach
  • 14.