UNFINISHED BUSINESS: 21ST CENTURY QUESTIONS POSED BY AMBIGUITIES IN THE UPPER COLORADO RIVER BASIN COMPACT AND THE LAW OF THE RIVER

46 Pages Posted: 6 Jun 2024

See all articles by Eric Kuhn

Eric Kuhn

Retired General Manager

Katherine Tara

Utton Transboundary Resource Center

John Fleck

Utton Center, University of New Mexico School of Law

Date Written: June 04, 2024

Abstract

The Law of the River, particularly those components relating to Upper Colorado River water allocation, usage, and measurement, is rife with ambiguities and uncertainties. In the 21st Century, facing a future with less water, these ambiguities pose serious problems. The ongoing process for the development of the Post-2026 Colorado River Operating Guidelines presents an ideal opportunity to address these issues. This article gives a brief history of the Law of the River, with an eye towards the origins of the Stream Depletion Theory, beneficial consumptive use, and Tribal water allocations. The authors then discuss potential resolutions to these three problems. The article concludes by urging water leaders in the Upper Colorado River Basin to consider these solutions in their development of Post-2026 guidelines.

Suggested Citation

Kuhn, Eric and Tara, Katherine and Fleck, John, UNFINISHED BUSINESS: 21ST CENTURY QUESTIONS POSED BY AMBIGUITIES IN THE UPPER COLORADO RIVER BASIN COMPACT AND THE LAW OF THE RIVER (June 04, 2024). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4853972 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4853972

Eric Kuhn

Retired General Manager ( email )

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

Katherine Tara

Utton Transboundary Resource Center ( email )

1117 Stanford, N.E.
Albuquerque, NM 87131
United States

John Fleck (Contact Author)

Utton Center, University of New Mexico School of Law ( email )

1117 Stanford NE
MSC11 6070, 1 University of New Meixco
Albuquerque, NM 87131
United States

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