reservoirs, the Bureau of Reclamation has determined that, based on
the best available data projections of Lake Powell and Lake Mead
reservoir elevations, under the 2007 Colorado River Interim Guidelines
for Lower Basin Shortages and Coordinated Operations for Lake Powell
and Lake Mead (2007 Interim Guidelines) a release of 7.48 million
acre-feet (maf) from Lake Powell is required in water year 2014 (Oct.
1, 2013 — Sept. 30, 2014).
An annual release of 7.48 maf is the lowest release since the filling
of Lake Powell in the 1960s. Lake Mead is projected to decline an
additional eight feet during 2014 as a result of the lower Lake Powell
annual release; however, Lake Mead will operate under normal
conditions in calendar year 2014, with water users in the Lower
Colorado River Basin and Mexico receiving their full water orders in
accordance with the 2007 Interim Guidelines and the 1944 Treaty with
The 2007 Interim Guidelines Record of Decision was signed by the
Secretary of the Interior after extensive consultation with the seven
Colorado River Basin states, Native American tribes, federal agencies,
environmental organizations, and other stakeholders and interested
parties. The guidelines were adopted to coordinate reservoir
management strategies and address annual operations of Lake Powell and
Lake Mead, particularly under low reservoir conditions.
“This is the worst 14-year drought period in the last hundred years,”
said Upper Colorado Regional Director Larry Walkoviak. “Reclamation’s
collaboration with the seven Colorado River Basin states on the 2007
Interim Guidelines is proving to be invaluable in coordinating the
operations of the reservoirs and helping protect future availability
of Colorado River water supplies,” added Walkoviak.
Reclamation’s Lower Colorado Regional Director Terry Fulp also pointed
to the variability in the system. “With a good winter snowpack next
year, the outlook could change significantly as it did in 2011, but we
also need to be prepared for continuing drought. Currently the
longer-term projections from Reclamation’s hydrologic models show a
very small chance of lower basin delivery shortages in 2015, with the
first significant chance of reduced water deliveries in the lower
basin in 2016. These projections will be updated monthly and will
reflect changes in weather and the resulting hydrology,” said Fulp.
Updated monthly, Reclama-tion’s 24-Month Study is an operational
report that provides projected reservoir operations for all major
system reservoirs in the Colorado River Basin for the next two years.
The August 24-Month Study is available on the Reclamation websites for
the Upper and Lower Colorado regions:
Upper Colorado Region: http://www.usbr.gov/uc/water/
Lower Colorado Region: http://www.usbr.gov/lc/region/
By planning ahead for varying reservoir levels, the 2007 Interim
Guidelines provide Colorado River users, especially those in the lower
basin states of Arizona, Nevada and California, with a greater degree
of certainty about annual water deliveries. The 2007 Interim
Guidelines also define the reservoir levels that would trigger
delivery shortages and specify those reduced delivery amounts in the
lower Colorado River Basin once Lake Mead reaches certain elevations.
Information about the 2007 Interim Guidelines is available at