Colorado River seminar takes place on Sept. 16 |

Colorado River seminar takes place on Sept. 16

The Colorado River District’s popular one-day Annual Water Seminar in Grand Junction takes place 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 16, at the Two Rivers Convention Center.

The theme is: “Colorado River Waves of the Future: Fitting the West to the River’s New Normal.” Cost of the seminar, which includes lunch, is $30 if preregistered by Friday, Sept. 9; $40 at the door. Registration info:

Keynoting the lunchtime program will be journalist Abrahm Lustgarten, who authored a Western water news series that examined how Colorado River water is put to use in agriculture and by cities. The controversial work was adapted to a Discovery Channel film now streaming at

Lustgarten writes for the website ProPublica, and his work has been published in the New York Times as well as other places.

In the main program, speakers will address how water leaders in the seven states on the Colorado River are addressing ways to adapt their use of the river to deal with low storage levels at lakes Powell and Mead through techniques that reduce demands. After looking regionally, speakers will discuss Colorado-specific challenges such as the confusion over the “use it or lose it” doctrine in Colorado water law and how the new Colorado Water Plan can be put into action, especially with financial obstacles before it.

The seminar is called “Colorado River Waves of the Future: Fitting the West to the River’s New Normal.”

Here are the sessions:

• Temperatures Matter: Jeff Lukas, Western Water Assessment, University of Colorado — Rising temperatures across the West promise greater consumptive use and stress on Colorado River water supplies and water rights holders. As weather patterns change, supplies may be available when water rights are not in priority and/or they may fall out of priority sooner.

• How the Lower Basin is Attacking the Structural Deficit: Suzanne Ticknor, Central Arizona Project — Low reservoir levels at Lake Mead are forcing Arizona, California and Nevada to plan for reduced water draws, to fit water use to water supply. The “structural deficit” is 1.2 million acre feet. The states are working to adapt the “Law of the River” to new realities of supply and demand.

• How the Upper Basin is Attacking Low Levels at Lake Powell/Demand Matters: Eric Kuhn, Colorado River District — Low reservoir levels at Lake Powell threaten the ability to generate power and ultimately the ability of Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming to meet Colorado River Compact/”Law of the River” obligations to the Lower Basin.

• Sorting Through Demand Management Weapons/ Water Banking/System Conservation – Who’s Doing What? Dave Kanzer, Colorado River District — The science and the mechanisms for ag fallowing and deficit irrigation are being tested across the West.

• Lunch Program: “Killing the Colorado” Abrahm Lustgarten, ProPublica.

• Use It or Lose It – Separating Truth, Myth and Reality: Justice Greg Hobbs (retired), Senior Water Judge, Colorado Supreme Court — How to properly exercise and protect water rights is wrapped up in a hot and topical discussion of what’s waste, what’s not and what does “Use It or Lose It” really mean?

• Colorado’s Water Plan – What Now? — A panel discussion with Colorado Water Conservation Board Director James Eklund; Colorado state Rep. Don Coram and Anne Castle, former U.S. assistant secretary of the interior and now fellow with the Getches-Wilkinson Center for Natural Resources, Energy and the Environment at the University of Colorado Boulder.

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