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Agriculture & Water | Colorado River Forum (CRF)

Colorado River Basin States and Tribal Leaders Begin Historic Negotiations

By Jonathan Lennartz

For the first time, the four Upper Colorado River Basin states of Wyoming, Utah, Colorado and New Mexico recently began formal meetings with six tribes to jointly negotiate water management of the Colorado River.

The thirty federally recognized tribes along the Basin hold rights to roughly 25% of its water supply. Historically, the river’s water management decisions have been led by federal and state governments without formal input from tribal leaders.

State and tribal negotiations will seek to establish a framework for future river operations, which are currently shaped by the 2007 Interim Guidelines set to expire in 2026. This becomes increasingly relevant as significant conservation measures have been implemented to combat the region’s drought crisis, which tribal leaders assert they have not been adequately consulted.

Click below to learn more about the historic negotiations and their potential impact on water policy in the Basin.

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