THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES
National Research Council
Division on Earth and Life Studies
Water Science and Technology Board
Committee on Scientific Bases of Colorado River Basin Water Management
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
468 Dirksen Senate Office Bldg. – 9:30 a.m.
1324 Longworth House Office Bldg. – 1:00 p.m.
Colorado River Basin Water Management:
Evaluating and Adjusting to Hydroclimatic Variability
Donald C. Jackson, Professor of History, Lafayette College, Easton, Pennsylvania; and Member, Committee on Scientific Bases of Colorado River Basin Water Management, Water Science and Technology Board, Division on Earth and Life Studies, The National Academies
Philip M. Smith, Consultant, Science Policy and Management, Santa Fe, New Mexico; and Member, Committee on Scientific Bases of Colorado River Basin Water Management, Water Science and Technology Board, Division on Earth and Life Studies, The National Academies
The long-term water availability in the Colorado River has long been a topic of great socio-economic, legal, and environmental importance in the western United States. Concerns regarding Colorado River flows have been heightened by drought conditions that have had significant hydrologic impacts across much of the river basin in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Interest in the topic has been further peaked by recent hydroclimatic studies, based on the annual growth rings of coniferous trees in the region, that have produced new information on Colorado River flow values over the past 500 years. The drought conditions, along with the information presented in these tree-ring based Colorado River flow reconstructions, led the National Research Council to appoint a study committee to review the scientific basis of Colorado River management. This committee's report, entitled "Colorado River Basin Water Management: Evaluating and Adjusting to Hydroclimatic Variability" assesses existing hydrologic and climatic information and how it relates to Colorado River water supplies and demands, water management decisions, and drought preparedness.
These briefings were for members of Congress and congressional staff only. The report was publicly released on February 21, 2007 and can be found, in its entirety, on the Web site of the National Academies Press.