The Colorado River Basin is a vital source of both municipal and agricultural water for the state, supplying over a quarter of all water used in Utah. However, the prolonged drought in the basin and a changing climate have created an urgent need for the efficient use of Utah’s share of the Colorado River as supplies shrink and critical reservoir elevations decline.
Against this backdrop, in 2021, Brad Wilson, Speaker of the Utah House of Representatives, and Stuart Adams, President of the Utah Senate, co-sponsored the Colorado River Authority of Utah Act (HB 297) creating the Authority and establishing its broad mission to “protect, conserve, use and develop Utah’s waters of the Colorado River system.” 63M-14-102 et seq. In furtherance of its mission, the Authority Board has developed the Colorado River Authority of Utah Management Plan (“Management Plan”) to ensure that Utah can protect and develop its Colorado River system water and work to ensure that Utah can live within the state’s apportionment of 23% of the supply available in the Upper Colorado River Basin.
The Management Plan focuses on three priority areas for the state with respect to the Colorado River: measurement, hydrology/operations, and drought mitigation. While its initial term is five years, the Management Plan is meant to be dynamic in order to respond to changing hydrology and conditions in the Colorado River Basin. Authority staff will provide an annual update at a regular meeting of the Authority Board on the implementation of the Management Plan and satisfaction of key benchmarks.
Utah’s future depends upon a resilient water supply. This Management Plan is the first of many steps to promoting a sustainable Colorado River Basin so that its water can be enjoyed by many future generations of Utahns.