The Upper Basin, Lower Basin, and Mexico: Coexisting on the Post-2026 Colorado River

Science Be Dammed Working Paper Series 2019-02

52 Pages Posted: 18 Jun 2019

See all articles by Eric Kuhn

Eric Kuhn

Retired General Manager

John Fleck

Water Resources Program

Date Written: June 2, 2019

Abstract

Misuse of science in the apportionment of the Colorado River’s water in the 20th century led to an overallocation problem that must be addressed. Rules based on overestimation of the available water supply have allowed overuse in the Lower Colorado River Basin and left uncertainty about the obligation of various basin water users to contribute water toward meeting U.S. treaty obligations to Mexico. With a number of key water management agreements expiring in 2026, basin managers have an opportunity to correct the overallocation problems with negotiated agreements that reflect the reality of the river’s hydrology and reduce risks associated with winner-take-all litigation.

Keywords: Colorado River, hydrology, water law

JEL Classification: Q25, Q28

Suggested Citation

Kuhn, Eric and Fleck, John, The Upper Basin, Lower Basin, and Mexico: Coexisting on the Post-2026 Colorado River (June 2, 2019). Science Be Dammed Working Paper Series 2019-02. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3397951 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3397951

Eric Kuhn

Retired General Manager ( email )

201 Centennial St.
Suite 200
Glenwood Springs, CO 81601
United States

John Fleck (Contact Author)

Water Resources Program ( email )

1915 Roma NE/Economics Building
Albuquerque, NM 87131
United States

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