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Bypass Flow Replacement or Recovery Methods

Bypass Flow Index

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Project History and Background
     YDP Operations
     Excess flows to Mexico
     Other proposals
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     Letter to Interested Parties
     Press Release
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     Public Comments

The Bureau of Reclamation has initiated a public process to solicit information about potential methods to recover or replace agricultural return flows from the Wellton-Mohawk Irrigation and Drainage District that bypass the Colorado River and are discharged to the Cienega de Santa Clara in Mexico (the bypass flow).

The U.S. has bypassed saline agricultural return flows to help meet Colorado River water quality obligations to Mexico. However, the bypass flow is not included in the 1.5 million acre-feet of water that the U.S. is required to deliver annually to Mexico. Consequently, system storage from the Colorado River has been used to make up for the bypass flow. The current drought and projected long-term water demands have heightened concern about this demand on the river system.

The Yuma Desalting Plant was originally constructed to recover part of the bypass flow and return it to the river. Various other methods for recovering or replacing the flow have been proposed including options that address potential impacts to the wetlands in the Cienega de Santa Clara.

To learn more about the public planning process and potential methods that have already been suggested, you can navigate through the index above.

To solicit and collect information and feedback about any potential recovery or replacement methods for the bypass flow, interested parties were invited to provide information to be used in formulating future decisions. The initial comment period ended November 15, 2005, and comments are now available on this website.

Reclamation is now analyzing and evaluating the comments/proposals to review potential methods for recovery or replacement of bypass water.

For more information on this activity, please contact Chris Wallis in the Yuma Area Office, e-mail: cwallis@usbr.gov or phone: 928-343-8215.

Updated: January 2009