The Colorado River Basin faces profound long-term water management challenges. Water use by cities, farms, and industry has been increasing for years, and now roughly equals the entire flow of the Colorado River. This trend is expected to get worse, as demand continues to increase and climate change alters streamflows.
In cooperation with Carpe Diem West, the Center has engaged in a broad dialogue about the issues and policy options for improved Colorado River governance. An initial report (Thinking Like a River Basin) summarized the views of Colorado River basin leaders, highlighting the need for a broader range of stakeholders to engage in discussions about the river’s future. Fewer were familiar with the range of options available, so a second report (Governing Like a River Basin) explores four options based on models in other parts of the country.