Date: 07/21/2009

Colorado River Availability Study


Votes: View--> Action Taken:

**Senator Isgar was no longer a member of the Committee when the meeting took place.

09:15 AM -- Colorado River Availability Study

Ray Alvarado introduced the Colorado River Water Availability Study and referenced an attachment he provided to the committee that includes a glossary of water terms (Attachment A). The study is intended to help Colorado make wise resource management decisions while acknowledging that there is a degree of uncertainty as the state moves into the future.

Attachment A.pdf

09:17 AM

Blaine Dwyer, the contract Project Manager of the study from Boyle Management, described the purpose of the study. His presentation is available at He explained that the study is intended to answer the question, "how much water from the Colorado River Basin System is available to meet Colorado's current and future water needs?" The study will take into account hydrology, water availability, and water use. He explained that Phase I of the study is looking at current uses and absolute water rights. Phase II of the study will consider potential future users, and Part III will involve a hydrologic assessment process.

09:29 AM

Ben Harding, an engineer with AMEC Earth and Environmental, described available data on hydrology including stream flow data and paleo hydrology which allows the engineers to extend hydrologic records through tree-ring data. The preliminary results of their work indicate earlier average annual runoff. All of their data will be reviewed by Veva Deheza at the Colorado Water Conservation Board. Mr. Harding responded to questions about how they have used a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) climate change study.

09:49 AM

Randy Seaholm, Colorado Water Conservation Board, responded to questions from the committee about the effect of climate change on Colorado's ability to satisfy its Colorado River Compact delivery obligations.

09:55 AM

Discussion between the committee and the Colorado Water Conservation Board followed about the accuracy of climate change and water availability predictions and the challenge of basing policy on this uncertainty. Mr. Harding and Mr. Seaholm explained that their objective is to provide information to the roundtables and other policy makers to help with water supply development decisions. Jennifer Gimbel, Director of the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB), explained that the Colorado Water Conservation Board Construction Fund bill, Senate Bill 09-125, includes $1 million for Phase II of the study.