Changing the law of the river

  The Bureau of Rec-lamation has released a draft plan to change the way the Colorado River is managed within Nevada, Arizona and California (HCN, 2/21/94). "The lower Colorado River needs to meet the water needs of more people," says commissioner Dan Beard. "In the past, we have managed the river primarily to serve agricultural and power concerns. This plan will promote conservation, water transfers and other methods to provide more supplies for cities, suburbs, fish, wildlife and other interests." The proposed regulations would allow voluntary transfers of water both within states and across state lines. Irrigation districts and cities drawing water from the river would be required to develop conservation programs. And taxpayers would no longer pay the full cost of administering Colorado River entitlements. Beginning in 1995, water users would share this cost by paying a fee to the bureau. To encourage public discussion, the bureau is making copies of the draft plan available before the proposed rules are published in the Federal Register later this summer. For a copy, contact Dale Ensminger, Bureau of Reclamation, Lower Colorado Region, Box 61470, Boulder City, NV 89006 (702/293-8659).

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