The Colorado River Compact

A Milestone in Water Governance

  • Enacted in 1922, this compact has served as a pivotal force in shaping regional water policies and management for nearly a century.
  • However, in retrospect, it becomes evident that the agreement inadvertently over allocated 16.4 million acre-feet (MAF) of water resources.
  • Presently, we have come to realize that the average annual yield of the river hovers closer to 14 million acre-feet (MAF).
  • Consequently, this overallocation has resulted in a strain on the water levels of Lake Powell and Lake Mead, triggering concerns and challenges in their sustenance. 

Current Conservation Regulations & Programs

What is Nevada Doing to Conserve Water

  • Promoting the use of water-efficient appliances, fixtures, and landscaping techniques
  • Water recycling and reclamation initiatives, such as treating and reusing wastewater for non-potable purposes
  • Increased public education and awareness campaigns to encourage responsible water use
  • Implemented innovative water pricing structures and incentives to incentivize conservation efforts and discourage wasteful consumption 

The Result?

  • Nevada has made significant strides in conserving water resources. Today, it leads the nation in water conservation.
  • In the following graph, you will see Southern Nevada is allocated just 300,000 acre-feet of water with a Return Flow Credit of 242,124! 

Where The Water Goes

  • The primary destinations of the Colorado River water encompass major metropolitan areas, including Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Phoenix, and Denver.
  • These areas rely on the river water as a source of drinking water, catering to the needs of a significant population. 
  • The Colorado River serves as a crucial resource for hydroelectric power generation, supplying water to numerous power plants that produce electricity to meet the energy demands of the surrounding regions. 
  • Moreover, a portion of the river's flow is allocated for environmental conservation efforts, ensuring the sustenance of vital habitats and ecosystems along its course, notably including the Grand Canyon and its adjacent riparian areas. 

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