Colorado River Post 2026 Operations

Several reservoir and water management decisional documents and agreements that govern the operation of Colorado River facilities and management of the Colorado River are scheduled to expire at the end of 2026. These include the 2007 Colorado River Interim Guidelines for Lower Basin Shortages and Coordinated Operations for Lake Powell and Lake Mead (2007 Interim Guidelines), the 2019 Drought Contingency Plans, as well as international agreements between the United States and Mexico pursuant to the United States-Mexico Treaty on Utilization of Waters of the Colorado and Tijuana Rivers and of the Rio Grande (1944 Water Treaty).

The Post-2026 process will be a multi-year NEPA process that will identify a range of alternatives and determine operations for Lake Powell and Lake Mead and other water management actions for potentially decades into the future. Given the scope of the task, and the conditions facing the Colorado River Basin, the Department believes it is important to begin this process as soon as possible to provide ample time for a thorough, inclusive, and science-based decision-making process to be completed before the end of 2026.

Announcements and Events

If there are questions or you would like to submit a comment, please email:

Current Activities

The public scoping period closed on August 15, 2023. Reclamation has reviewed the input received and published a Scoping Summary Report.

Reclamation announced a preliminary assessment of the proposed federal action and the anticipated purpose and need in the Federal Register on October 20, 2023. Reclamation is now working on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS), beginning with developing a reasonable range of technically and economically feasible alternatives that meet the proposed federal action and purpose and need. The DEIS is planned to be published in December 2024.


Nothing scheduled at this time.

Last Updated: 12/7/23