Basinwide Studies

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Listed according to study type: flow recommendation, multi-topic, aquatic biology, riparian biology, water quality, or geomorphology.


Flow Assessment

The importance of base flow in sustaining surface water flow in the Upper Colorado River Basin

By Matthew P. Miller, Susan G. Buto, David D. Susong and Christine A. Rumsey
In Water Resources Research, an AGU Journal, May 9, 2016



Cross Boundary Water Transfers in the Colorado River Basin

By: Colorado River Governance Initiative, University of Colorado Law School, June 2013
Notes: The use of water markets to reallocate water within the Colorado River Basin states is well established and growing, and provides a valuable mechanism for adjusting to long-term demographic (or climatic) changes as well as addressing short-term crises, such as droughts.  However, the use of this tool at larger, cross-jurisdictional scales—particularly those that cross state lines and Indian reservation boundaries—has been limited, despite numerous proposals.  This report reviews major (and unsuccessful) proposals—all limited to voluntary and temporary leases—going back as far as 1984, tracing the political fallout of each effort, and the lessons that have emerged.


Colorado River Basin Water Supply and Demand Study

Published by the US Bureau of Reclamation, December 2012
Note: This major study, completed by a large, multi-state team, assesses past, current and potential future water supply and demand, taking into account the paleo record, climate change projections, and potential management actions.


Colorado River Water Bank Feasibility Study – Phase 1

Prepared by the MWH Americas, Inc. for the Colorado River District, December 2009
Note:- Estimate water uses on the East Slope and West Slope that are met with water rights that are not ‘present perfected rights’ under the Compact (i.e. not “pre-Compact water rights”)(….)


Colorado River Water Bank Feasibility Study – Phase 2

Prepared by the MWH Americas, Inc. for the Colorado River Water Conservation District, March 2013
Note:- Defining requirements and preferences for candidate irrigation systems to be considered as test cases for conducting on-site interviews and inspections(….)


Colorado River Water Bank Feasibility Study – Phase 2b

Prepared by Shaden Musleh and John Craven, Hydros Consulting, Inc. for the Water Bank Subcommittee, October 2015
Note: The purpose of this memorandum is to provide a qualitative assessment and summary of conclusions for water banking for the three ditch systems described in Hydros’ technical memoranda attached as Appendices A-C.


Aquatic Biology

Fragmentation and Thermal Risks from Climate Change Interact to affect persistence of native trout in the Colorado River Basin 

By James J. Roberts, Kurt D. Fausch, Douglas P. Peterson, Mevin B. Hooten. In Global Change Biology, May, 2013
Type: Aquatic Biology


Riparian Biology

Colorado River Basin Tamarisk and Russian Olive Assessment

Prepared by the Tamarisk Coalition for The Parties to the Memorandum of Understanding, December 2009
Note: The MOU’s intent was to further the seven Colorado River Basin States’ investigations of potential water augmentation options that might provide future water supplies within the Basin. By controlling invasive phreatophytes, specifically tamarisk and Russian olive, which have a reputation for using significant quantities of water, it has been postulated that water currently lost through evapotranspiration processes could be reduced and thus made available to augment water supplies.


Supply and Use

Evaluation of the NIDIS Upper Colorado River Basin Drought Early Warning System​

By: University of Colorado, Boulder, November 2014
Type: Supply​


Water to Supply the Land: Irrigated Agriculture in the Colorado River Basin

By: Michael Cohen, Juliet Christian-Smith, and John Berggren, Pacific Institute, 2013
Type: Supply


Hydrologic Sensitivities of Colorado River Runoff to Changes in Precipitation and Temperature 

By: Julie Vano, et al, January 2012
Type: Supply​


Quantification Task: A Description of Agriculture Production and Water Transfers in the Colorado River Basin

By: James Pritchett, for the CRB Water Sharing Working Group and the Walton Family Foundation, January 2011
Type: Supply​


Historical effects of El Nino and La Nina events on the seasonal evolution of the montane snowpack in the Columbia and Colorado River Basins

By: Clark, M. P. and Serrezel, M. C., Water Resources Research, 2001
Type: Climate/Crisis



Dust radiative forcing in snow of the Upper Colorado River Basin

By: Painter,T.H., Water Resources Research, Vol. 48., 2012


Merging Satellite and Model Information to Improve Snowpack and Water Supply Forecasting

By: Livneh, B, and Deems, J.S..  EIC Climate Change Technology Conference, 2013


Federal Offices


  • 1920 KINKAID ACT Starts the wheels turning for construction of Hoover Dam.
  • 1928 Boulder Canyon Project Act
  • 1931 Boulder Canyon Project Agreement
  • 1944 Mexican Water Treaty
  • 1948 Upper Colorado River Basin Compact
  • 1956 Colorado River Storage Project Act
  • 1962 Navajo Indian Irrigation Project
  • 1968 Colorado River Basin Project Act
  • 1974 Colorado River Basin Salinity Control Act
  • 2001 Colorado River Interim Surplus Guidelines
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