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Colorado River Basin Water Supply and Demand Study Releases New Technical Memorandum

Media Contact: Rose Davis, 702-293-8421,

For Release: May 17, 2012

BOULDER CITY, Nev. - The Bureau of Reclamation today released a technical memorandum titled “Technical Memorandum C – Quantification of Water Demand Scenarios”. The memorandum updates information published in Interim Report No. 1 - Technical Report C - Water Demand Assessment in June 2011.

Given the high degree of uncertainty regarding future water demand, a scenario planning process was used to develop scenarios providing a range of future conditions. With input from a broad range of stakeholders, six scenarios of water demand were developed that incorporate key factors driving future uncertainty. These factors include changes in natural systems including climate change, changes in demographics and land use, changes in technology and economics, and changes in social and governance structures.

The memorandum provides the quantification of these six demand scenarios previously published in a narrative or “storyline” format. The scenarios provide a range of about 13.8 to 16.2 million acre-feet (maf) of Colorado River water demand by 2060. The range changes to about 18.1 to 20.4 maf in 2060 when factoring in Mexico’s allotment and losses such as reservoir evaporation. When comparing the demand scenarios to the median water supply projections that incorporate climate change information, the long-term imbalance in future supply and demand is projected to be greater than 3.5 maf in 2060. This is consistent with previously published information.

The memorandum includes the quantification of the six demand scenarios for each of the seven Colorado River Basin States, a compilation of demand information from Native American tribes and communities, and an update to the methods assessing the effects of climate change on demand and associated results. The memorandum considers water demands for agriculture, municipal and industrial uses, energy production, mining, fish and wildlife habitat, recreation, and tribal use.

The Technical Memorandum and additional information on the Study can be found online at:

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