Sep 21, 2022 | Blog

Alliance Members Engage In Colorado River Crisis

Alliance Members Engage in Colorado River Crisis

The critical challenges water users are facing throughout the Colorado River Basin are driving what is perhaps the biggest water story of the year. Family Farm Alliance leaders and members are in the thick of it.

Colorado River reservoirs could run dry in 3 years, top official warns

Colorado River Water Conservation District General Manager Andy Mueller painted a bleak future for the basin’s seven states — Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming — on Friday, during his organization’s annual conference in Grand Junction, Colo., on the river’s future.

“If we continue in the way we’re operating now, if we don’t reduce our demands, we’re going to really see those reservoirs really hit a crisis,” Mr. Mueller said. “I’m not talking about in 20 years, I’m talking about in the next three or four years. We have a period of time here to change our use.”

Andy Mueller serves on the Advisory Committee of the Family Farm Alliance.

CLICK HERE to read the GREENWIRE story that covered his recent presentation.

Arizona water officials worry about future access to Colorado River 

While Arizona cities reliant on Colorado River water have backup supplies to cushion them in the short term, talk of cuts leaves long-term picture more uncertain.

The future of Colorado River irrigation districts, of farming in the Yuma area in general and of Arizona’s second largest drinking water supply for urban residents are all mired in a sea of uncertainty. Due to a logjam in interstate negotiations for massive cuts in Colorado River water deliveries, farmers and urban users have no idea how much water use they’ll be ordered to cut, possibly starting next year.

“Obviously we’re very, very concerned,” said Robbie Woodhouse, who serves on the board of directors of the Wellton-Mohawk Irrigation and Drainage District, which covers about 58,500 along the Gila River, east of the Colorado River. His 1,250 acres grow mostly produce, such as cauliflower, broccoli and lettuce.

“Without the water, we don’t grow anything,” he said. “But I wouldn’t say we are scared. We do feel an obligation to do our part.”

CLICK HERE to read the Arizona Star story, which also features quotes from Family Farm Alliance Advisory Committee Member Wade Noble.

Nearly 400 Arizona leaders gathered to address the Colorado River water shortage

The Arizona Agribusiness and Water Council hosted its annual meeting and water conference on September 16 in Tempe. Nearly 400 leaders gathered to address the Colorado River water shortage.

Family Farm Alliance members Elston Grubaugh (Wellton-Mohawk IDD) and Dave Roberts (Associate GM, Salt River Project) presented at this event, and Alliance Executive Director Dan Keppen delivered the keynote address, which focused on the importance of Western irrigated agriculture and how it relates to food prices and national security.

CLICK HERE for the KYMA (Yuma, AZ) TV coverage of the event.

Kudos to Advisory Committee member Chris Udall, his assistant Stephanie Liesner, and the ABWC board for a truly impressive program!

The Family Farm Alliance last March formally adopted a policy brief that sets forth Colorado River principles developed in collaboration with several key agricultural interests from the headwaters to the Mexican border. The 2007 Interim Guidelines for management of Lake Powell and Lake Mead are set to expire in 2026. The Alliance policy brief urges Colorado River decision-makers to incorporate 8 principles into new operating guidelines. The brief has already been adopted by some of the most influential water districts and associations in the Basin.  

We will continue to keep you informed on this and other developments impacting Western irrigated agriculture.
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