Sustainable Use of Water in the Lower Colorado River Basin

Published: November 26, 1996
Authors: Jason Morrison, Sandra L. Postel, Peter Gleick
Pages: 77

Report Presents Data on Flows, Sustainable Vision for Colorado River

Colorado River from the Navajo bridge in Arizona (D. Faust).

The Colorado River supplies water to nearly 30 million people and irrigates more than 1.5 million hectares of farmland in the United States and Mexico. But the diversion of a huge amount of river water is seriously harming the delicate web of life that used to exist in the delta.

The Sustainable Use of Water in the Lower Colorado River Basin, written by Sandra Postel of the Global Water Policy Project and Peter Gleick and Jason Morrison of the Pacific Institute, aims to clarify key concepts and criteria for sustainable water use within the Colorado basin, and then, using those criteria, present patterns of water management that can support economic prosperity and the evironment.

We do not presume to offer a single or best solution to water problems in the lower Colorado basin. The report’s goal is to define — both quantitatively and qualitatively — the unsustainable nature of current patterns of water use, and to demonstrate how technologies, policy actions, and management strategies can be combined to achieve more sustainable water use.

Table of Contents

Executive Summary (147 KB PDF)

Full Report (3.6 MB PDF)

I. INTRODUCTION
II. CURRENT WATER PLANNING AND MANAGEMENT
III. WATER “IMBALANCE” IN THE LOWER COLORADO RIVER BASIN: PRESENT SUPPLY AND DEMAND
IV. PRINCIPAL CHALLENGES FACING THE LOWER COLORADO RIVER BASIN
V. MOVING TOWARD A SUSTAINABLE RIVER BASIN
VI. LEGAL, POLITICAL, AND INSTITUTIONAL BARRIERS TO SUSTAINABLE RIVER BASIN MANAGEMENT
VII. RECOMMENDATIONS
VIII. BIBLIOGRAPHY
APPENDIX A: List of Federally-Listed Endangered, Threatened, Candidate, and Species at Risk which may occur in the Lower Colorado River Ecosystem
APPENDIX B: The CALFED Bay-Delta Process as a Model