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A Workshop on Colorado River Water Supply Situation

focusing on

The Drought in the Colorado River Basin

and

What This Means for Next Year’s Water Supply for Southern California




Meeting Date and Location:


Wednesday, July 24, 2002

10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.


Metropolitan Water District of Southern California Board Room

700 North Alameda Street

Los Angeles, California


Purpose of the Workshop:


The Colorado River Board of California is holding a public workshop to obtain a better understanding of the severity of the current drought in the Colorado River Basin, next year’s water supply outlook, and role that California’s Colorado River Water Use Plan and the water transfers will play in addressing the water supply needs of Southern California. Water officials from the State of California, the U.S. Department of the Interior, the Colorado River Basin States, and local water agencies will come together to discuss these important topics.


An opportunity will be provided for questions and comments from the public during the workshop. Information gathered from this workshop will be used by the Colorado River Board in its deliberations and as it prepares the next draft of California’s Colorado River Water Use Plan. No action will be taken by the Board at this workshop.


Contacts:

Gerald R. Zimmerman

(818) 543-4676

mail@crb.ca.gov


or

George R. Spenser

(818) 543-4676

mail@crb.ca.gov


For More Information:


For more information you may visit the Colorado River Board’s website at www.crb.ca.gov .


oOo


The Colorado River Board was created by the State Legislature to protect the interests and rights of the State of California, its agencies, and citizens in the water and power resources of the Colorado River System and to confer with entities within California, the federal government, the Colorado River Basin states, and others regarding matters affecting the Colorado River and its use.







Agenda


Workshop on Colorado River Water Supply Situation

July 24, 2002


 Metropolitan Water District of Southern California Board Room

700 North Alameda Street

Los Angeles, California




 

1.      Welcome - Lloyd Allen, Chairman, Colorado River Board of California

 

2.      Overview - Gerald Zimmerman, Executive Director, Colorado River Board of California

               Purpose of workshop

               Basin overview and importance of Colorado River

               California’s Colorado River Water Use Plan

               2002 hydrologic conditions

 

3.      Meteorological/Climatic Outlook - Bill Mork, State Climatologist, California Department of Water Resources

               Likely conditions

               El Nino impacts

 

4.      Federal Perspective - Bennett Raley, Assistant Secretary for Water and Science, U.S. Department of the Interior

               Water Master role

               Interim Surplus Guidelines

               Likely federal actions

 

5.      States Perspective

               Lower Basin - Patricia Mulroy, General Manager, Southern Nevada Water Authority

                  i.      Nevada’s perspective

                  ii.     Impacts on Nevada

 

               Upper Basin - Wayne Cook, Executive Director, Upper Colorado River Commission

                  i.      The drought in the Upper Basin

                  ii.     Upper Basin States’ perspective

 

               California - Mary Nichols, Secretary, The Resources Agency, California

                  i.      The Administration’s activities

 

6.      Regional Initiatives

               Quantification Settlement Agreement - Maureen Stapleton, General Manager, San Diego County Water Authority

                  i.      Overview of the Agreement

                  ii.     Process to complete

 

               Urban Agencies Initiatives - Dennis Underwood, Vice President, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California

 

               Agricultural Agencies Initiatives - John Carter, Chief Legal Counsel, Imperial Irrigation District

 

7.      Wrap-up  







Colorado River Board of California

NEWS

R E L E A S E





Contacts:

              Gerald Zimmerman, Colorado River Board - (818) 543-4676

              George Spencer, Colorado River Board - (818) 543-4676


July 20, 2002





SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA’S WATER SUPPLY WILL BE DEBATED


         LOS ANGELES - With the continuing drought in the Colorado River Basin, what is Southern California’s water supply expected to be next year? The Colorado River Board of California is sponsoring a workshop that will explore this question.


         The workshop will focus on the severity of the current drought in the Colorado River Basin, next year’s water supply outlook, and the role that California’s Colorado River Water Use Plan and the water transfers will play. The workshop will be held on July 24th beginning at 10:00 a.m. in the Board Room of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California located at 700 North Alameda Street, Los Angeles, California.


         Water officials from the State of California, the U.S. Department of the Interior, the Colorado River Basin States, and local water agencies are meeting to discuss water conditions along the Colorado River and California’s outlook for receiving water from the River. Mary Nichols, the Secretary of the California Resources Agency; Bennett Raley, the Assistant Secretary for Water and Science of the Department of the Interior; Pat Mulroy, General Manager of the Southern Nevada Water Authority; and Wayne Cook, Executive Director of the Upper Colorado River Commission, are among the distinguished water officials that will explore the possibility of a water supply crisis next year and what can be done to avoid or minimize such a consequence.


         Drought and wildfires have plagued the western states that comprise the watershed that drains the Colorado River. Southern California, including the coastal and desert regions, receives about 60 percent of its annual water supply from the Colorado River to serve the 17 million residents in Southern California and to provide a water supply to irrigate 900,000 acres of farmland in Southern California, including the Imperial, Coachella, Palo Verde, and Bard Valleys. The Los Angeles and San Diego metropolitan areas, where 16 million people reside, receives over 50 percent of its imported water supply from the Colorado River.


         Runoff in the Colorado River Basin is approaching the lowest level since records have been kept in 1896. Only 7.0 million acre-feet of water are expected to reach the Colorado River this year. California’s use of Colorado River water in 2002 is expected to be over 5.1 million acre-feet, while the total use in the Colorado River Basin is expected to be about 15 million acre-feet, including water that is being delivered to Mexico in accordance with the 1944 Mexican Water Treaty.


         The forecast of the April through July runoff into Lake Powell this year is expected to be 16 percent of average, only 1.25 million acre-feet. This represents the lowest recorded runoff, surpassing the previous lows of 1934 and 1977.


         While Lakes Mead and Powell are capable of storing over 50 million acre-feet of water, they are expected to be at about 61 percent of capacity, 31.0 million acre-feet, by the end of the year. This is a decrease of over 7.3 million acre-feet this year. With normal precipitation in 2003, Lake Mead’s water surface elevation is expected to continue to drop another 10 feet and storage in Lake Mead would be reduced by about 1.1 million acre-feet. Lake Mead is the reservoir in the Lower Colorado River Basin that provides the water for use by agricultural and municipal water users in California.


         The ability for California and the water agencies in California to draw more than 4.4 million acre-feet of water from the Colorado River in 2003 is dependent upon the water surface elevation of Lake Mead and the California water agencies signing the Quantification Settlement Agreement by December 31, 2002. With the expected water conditions on the Colorado River, if the Quantification Settlement Agreement is not executed by the deadline, California’s water use in 2003 will be limited to 4.4 million acre-feet. This would mean, because of the priority system in California, that the expected water supply from the Colorado River for the metropolitan areas of Los Angeles and San Diego would be cut in half. Such a reduction could result in severe economic impacts on Southern California and the State as a whole.


oOo


The Colorado River Board was created by the State Legislature to protect the interests and rights of the State of California, its agencies, and citizens in the water and power resources of the Colorado River System and to confer with entities within California, the federal government, the Colorado River Basin states, and others regarding matters affecting the Colorado River and its use.