New push to shore up shrinking Colorado River could reduce water flow to California
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has a plan to restore the water level to the river that runs through the nationâs fourth most populous state.
This plan is a direct response, or a follow-up, to the 2014 state budget cuts that have left the state with a $1.7 billion shortfall. With those cuts, it was clear the state was losing water. The Army Corps of Engineers had planned to use $1.7 billion of water that was scheduled to come from the federal government for flood control and drought relief.
This year, the Army Corps of Engineers said it will borrow another $1.2 billion from the U.S. government to restore the river. That will bring the total amount of water in the Federal Emergency Management Agencyâs emergency drought program to $3.5 billion, or about a third of the $4.5 billion the state had planned to contribute. The state water district, which manages the Colorado River and provides emergency drought funding, has a financial stake in the plan.
But other water users could see significant cuts from the plan. Some of the stateâs major water suppliers, like the Sacramento Diversion Region, may see water cut by 40 percent as a result of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineersâ plan, according to a presentation that was recently delivered to the UC Davis Sacramento Regional Water Quality Control Board. That presentation has been seen by The Bee.
The Army Corps of Engineers would have to decide on how to implement the plan. But the stateâs Department of Water Resources is ready. It is asking the Army Corps of Engineers to begin implementing the plan immediately.
âThis is a very big change and it will require a big change,â DWR Director Matt Penrose said. âIt will require us to take a look at