Sustaining Communities and the Colorado River
December 18, 2023
New conservation pact protects the river and reduces pressure on water rates.
New conservation pact protects the river, reduces pressure on water rates
The Colorado River is a critical source of the West’s water supply, supporting 40 million people, nearly 6 million acres of agriculture, and tribes across seven states and portions of Mexico. Decades of drought and heavy use have strained the river, requiring innovative approaches to how we sustain this important lifeline.
A landmark set of conservation agreements signed in December 2023 protects the river and helps conserve up to 1.6 million acre-feet of water in Lake Mead. It’s also expected to save the San Diego region $15 million to $20 million, reducing upward pressure on water rates. The Water Authority was proud to partner with Imperial Irrigation District. Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to create this innovative model for water management in the arid West.
The Water Authority-MWD-IID agreement builds on the 2003 Quantification Settlement Agreement, which turned 20 years old in October 2023, and highlights how water agencies can work together under existing laws and agreements to adapt to the changing climate. Funds to facilitate the deal are from the federal 2022 Inflation Reduction Act.