In May 2005, the Secretary of the Interior directed Reclamation to develop additional strategies for improving coordinated management of the reservoirs of the Colorado River system. In response, Reclamation initiated a public process to develop and adopt interim operational guidelines to address the operations of Lake Powell and Lake Mead during drought and low reservoir conditions.
On Dec 13, 2007, the Secretary signed a historic decision that implements innovative strategies for Colorado River management, charting a water management course for the future. Since 2008, Lake Powell and Lake Mead have been operated in accordance with the Record of Decision for the Colorado River Interim Guidelines for Lower Basin Shortages and the Coordinated Operations for Lake Powell and Lake Mead . The 2007 Interim Guidelines will remain in effect through December 31, 2025 – the 2026 Annual Operating Plan.
Review of the 2007 Colorado River Interim Guidelines (7.D. Review)
The 2007 Interim Guidelines Record of Decision (Section XI.G.7.D.) directs the Secretary of the Interior to initiate a review of the effectiveness of the Guidelines by December 31, 2020 as a necessary step towards negotiating post-2026 operations. In December 2019, Secretary Bernhardt announced that Reclamation would be starting this "7.D. Review" in early 2020, with an anticipated completion in December 2020.
Acting on behalf of the Secretary of the Interior, Reclamation is currently conducting the Review of the 2007 Interim Guidelines as stated in Section XI.G.7.D. of the Record of Decision for the 2007 Interim Guidelines. That provision states:
"Beginning no later than December 31, 2020, the Secretary shall initiate a formal review [Review] for purposes of evaluating the effectiveness of these [2007 Interim] Guidelines."
In December 2019, Secretary Bernhardt announced that Reclamation would be starting this "7.D. Review" in early 2020, with an anticipated completion in December 2020. Acting on behalf of the Secretary of the Interior, Reclamation conducted the Review of the 2007 Interim Guidelines and released a Final Report on December 18, 2020.
7.D. Review Process
Underscoring the importance of inclusivity, Secretary Bernhardt began the Review process by emphasizing that:
"the report will be a Reclamation product but it will rely on important input from the Basin States, Tribes, NGOs and the public, as the report is developed."
Throughout 2020, Reclamation hosted many virtual meetings with Basin partners and stakeholders to discuss the scope and approach of the Review and the 7.D. Review Draft Report. Partners and stakeholders provided valuable input reflecting a wide range of perspectives. Reclamation incorporated comments on the Review process and Draft Report to the extent possible. Additional information on the Review process, including written comments received, can be found in the Draft Review section.