The Colorado River flowing between sandstone cliffs. The sun is shining on the far cliffs.

The Colorado River Basin, located in the southwestern United States, occupies an area of approximately 250,000 square miles. The Colorado River is approximately 1,400 miles long and originates along the Continental Divide in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, and ends where it meets the Gulf of California in Mexico. The Colorado River is a critical resource in the West, because seven basin states (Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming) depend on it for water supply, hydropower production, recreation, fish and wildlife habitat, and other benefits. Although agricultural uses depend on 70 percent of Colorado River water, between 35 and 40 million people rely on the same water for some, if not all, of their municipal needs. Moreover, the United States also has a delivery obligation to Mexico for some of the Colorado River waters pursuant to a 1944 Treaty with Mexico.


Post 2026 Colorado River Operations

Supplemental EIS for Near-term Colorado River Operations

Drought Response Operations Agreement

Lower Colorado River Basin System Conservation and Efficiency Program

Upper Colorado River Basin System Conservation and Efficiency Program

Operating under the 2007 Interim Guidelines

Review of the 2007 Interim Guidelines & 7.D. Report


Announcements

  • Colorado River SEIS

    Reclamation finalizes SEIS process to address drought and climate impacts on Glen Canyon Dam and Hoover Dam

    May 9, 2024 – The Bureau of Reclamation today finalized its process to protect the short-term stability and sustainability of the Colorado River System by signing the Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) for Near-term Colorado River Operations Record of Decision. The Department of the Interior released the final SEIS in March 2024. Read More →

  • Investing in America

    Interior Department Delivers Nearly $30 Million for Drought Resilience in the Upper Colorado River Basin from President’s Investing in America Agenda

    A river running through steep mountains.April 16, 2024 – The Department of the Interior today announced a $29.7 million investment from President Biden’s Investing in America agenda to help states in the Upper Colorado River Basin – Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming – with drought planning, as part of the all-of-government approach to make western communities more resilient to drought and climate change. This is the second year of funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, with a $38.4 million distributed so far. Read More →

  • Colorado River

    Reclamation awards $20.9 million to six salinity control projects in Colorado and Utah

    Ashley Upper and Highline Canal rehabilitation under the Colorado River Basin Salinity Control ProgramFeb. 12, 2024 – The Bureau of Reclamation today awarded $20.9 million to fund six salinity control projects in Colorado and Utah through its Basinwide and Basin States Salinity Control Programs. These projects will reduce the amount of salt in the Colorado River and its associated impacts in the basin. This funding will prevent approximately 11,661 tons of salt each year from entering the Colorado River. Quantified economic damages due to salinity in Colorado River water is currently about $332 million per year in the United States. It is estimated that damages would increase to $631 million per year without the Colorado River Basin Salinity Control Program. Read More →

  • Colorado River

    Reclamation formally advances options to counter threat of nonnative fish in Colorado River below Glen Canyon Dam

    Glen Canyon Dam above the river and sandstone cliffs to the side and background.Feb. 7, 2024 – The Bureau of Reclamation today released a draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) that analyzes varying the timing of water released from Glen Canyon Dam to disrupt the downstream establishment of nonnative fish, primarily smallmouth bass. Read More →

  • Colorado River

    Investing in America: Protecting the Colorado River

    Flowing across 1,500 miles, two countries, 30 Tribal Nations and seven states, the Colorado River is more than a river—it’s the lifeblood of the West. Vital for supporting agricultural communities, businesses and cities, it also provides carbon-free, renewable hydropower while sustaining plant and animal life at every bend in the river. Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Camille Calimlim Touton shares how we’re deploying $2.9 billion (to date) from the President’s #BipartisanInfrastructureLaw and #InflationReductionAct to fund 400 projects that will help conserve water, including the Colorado River Basin. We’re using this funding to evaluate projects that will build long-term system efficiency – like lining canals, restoring aquatic ecosystems, and increasing water efficiency.


Current Activities

The Colorado River Post 2026 alternatives development phase of the process began in fall 2023 and will continue through spring 2024. The goal of this phase is to develop a broad range of reasonable alternatives for analysis in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement, which is expected to be released in December 2024.

The Colorado River SEIS Record of Decision is finalized.

Calendar

Nothing scheduled at this time.


Map of the Colorado River Basin

A map of the Colorado River Basin showing both the upper and lower basins.

Federally Recognized Tribes in the Colorado River Basin

A map of the Colorado River Basin showing the Federally Recognized Tribes within the Basin.
Last Updated: 5/9/24