California Responds to Reclamation’s Draft SEIS

April 11, 2023

Lisa Lien-Mager — 916-407-6279,
Jessica Neuwerth — 818-254-3200,

BOULDER CITY, NV — Colorado River Board of California Chairman JB Hamby issued the following statement on the draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) released today by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. The draft SEIS evaluates potential modifications to the 2007 Interim Shortage Guidelines that govern operation of the Colorado River’s major dams and reservoirs.

“California remains committed to developing a seven-state consensus that will protect the Colorado River system for the duration of the current guidelines,” said Hamby, who also serves as California’s Colorado River Commissioner. He added that, “California looks forward to closely coordinating and collaborating with our partners in the other Basin States, Basin Tribes, and Reclamation to review the draft SEIS in full.”

In January, California submitted a modeling proposal as part of the SEIS process that built on voluntary agreements and past collaborative efforts to address reduced inflows and declining reservoir elevations and achieve necessary water use reductions through 2026 to protect critical infrastructure and minimize implementation delays.

Since the January submission, California’s Colorado River water contractors and entitlement holders have closely collaborated with the Bureau of Reclamation to initiate efforts to develop agreements and conserve up to 400,000 acre-feet of water per year through 2026 for the benefit of the Colorado River System as part of Reclamation’s Lower Colorado River Basin System Conservation and Efficiency Program, funded through the Inflation Reduction Act.

On April 6, Arizona and Nevada joined California in a joint response letter to Reclamation providing input on the voluntary Program’s longer-term durable system efficiency improvements project funding component by recommending measures including turf removal, local supply and augmentation projects, agricultural efficiency improvements, conveyance modernization and automation, as well as storage projects to achieve verifiable reductions in the use of or demand for water supplies.

“California is committed to working with the Colorado River Basin States, Basin Tribes, and the Bureau of Reclamation to ensure that funding from the Inflation Reduction Act and recent improvements to the basin’s hydrology are used strategically to develop consensus for near-term stable operation of the Colorado River system, and to pivot to developing sustainable guidelines for the long-term management of the river,” said Hamby.

May 30 is the deadline for comments on the draft SEIS.

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For the past 85 years the Colorado River Board of California’s mission has been 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.

The Colorado River Board represents the State of California and its Members in discussions and negotiations with the Colorado River Basin States, federal, state and local governmental agencies and Mexico regarding the management of the Colorado River.