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Post-2026 EIS: Scoping for Reconsultation of Interim Guidelines

March 06, 2024
by John S Weisheit

Gale Norton and John Weisheit along the Colorado River in 2004 discussing the potential option to improve critical habitat, water delivery and water quality by decommissioning Glen Canyon Dam.
Gale Norton and John Weisheit along the Colorado River in 2004 discussing the potential option to improve critical habitat, water delivery and water quality by decommissioning Glen Canyon Dam.

WEBSITES: Department oif Interior


New information for Post-2026 EIS SNOWMELT EFFICIENCY SINCE 2020
The take of climate change
  • 2020: The snowpack was 107%, but runoff was 61%. A deficit of 46%.
  • 2021: The snowpack was 89%, but runoff was 37%. A deficit of 52 %.
  • 2022: The snowpack was 90%, but runnoff was 63%. A deficit of 27%
  • 2023: The snowpack was 161%, but runoff was 140%. A deficit of 21%.
  • 2024: Projected runoff might be 87%.
  • Source: KSL.com



NOTE: The Draft EIS is scheduled to be published at the end of Year 2024.


DISCUSSION: Deep Uncertainty
Definition: When parties do not know or cannot agree on future conditions and how to measure these conditions.

We think the future is easy to determine, but the necessary sacrifices to prepare for this future are not achievable, because our society is deeply disconnected from Nature. We find it difficult to accept this truth: Nature as baseline.

NEWS about Deep Uncertainty

National Academy of Sciences on deep uncertainty

  • "There is a broad class of problems that have no "solution" in the sense of an agreed course of action that would be expected to make the problem go away. These problems can also be so important that they should not be avoided or ignored until the fog lifts. We simply must learn to deal more effectively with their twists and turns as they unfold. We require sensible regular progress to anticipate what these developments might be with a balanced diversity of approaches. The payoff is that we will have had the chance to consider alternative courses of action with some degree of calm before we may be forced to choose among them in urgency or have them forced on us when other--perhaps better--options have been lost. Increasing atmospheric CO2 and its climatic consequences constitute such a problem." Reference, 1983.

The naturalist approach


  • Baseline: Since 1991, the take from global warming is 800,000 acre-feet per decade, or 80,000 acre-feet per year.
  • Baseline: Since 1999, the take from global warming and human over-consumption is 1.35 million acre-feet (maf) per year.
  • Baseline: Total reductions of 1.35 maf will stabilize the system for the decade of the 2020s.
  • Baseline: Restoring the reservoirs in the 2020s will require reductions of 2.7 maf.
  • Baseline: Total reductions in the decade of the 2030s will be 3.5 maf.
  • Baseline: Total reductions in the decade of the 2040s will be 4.3 maf.
  • Baseline: Total reductions in the decade of the 2050s will be 5.1 maf.
  • Baseline: Total reductions in the decade of the 2060s will be 5.9 maf.
  • Did Reclamation simulate this in their modeling? Yes they did and in 2011.






COMMENTS ARE DUE: Tuesday, August 15, 2023 (60 days)

Send comments to:

eMall address: crbpost2026@usbr.gov

Or. via postal service to:

Bureau of Reclamation
Attn: Post-2026 (Mail Stop 84- 55000)
P.O. Box 25007, Denver, CO 80225

Press Release

More information will be provided at a later time. Please return.


  • To review the Notice of Intent for this scoping process in 2023, click here.
  • To compare the Notice of Intent for the scoping process in 2005, click here.
  • To review last year's (2022) "prescoping" process, click here.
  • To review the website for scoping process of 2023, click here.
  • To review Reclamations presentation for public scoping, click here.
  • To review the recordings of the three scoping webinars of 2023, click here.
  • To review Reclamation's 2012 Handbook for following the NEPA process, CLICK HERE


  • Please read the citizen alternative called the One-Dam Solution and written in 2005 by Living Rivers & Colorado Riverkeeper.

WE THINK THIS IS HELPFUL INFORMATION: Opinions by the Federal Appellate Court in the 10th District; July of 2023. NEPA litigation for the Green River Block Water Exchange Contract between Reclamation and the state of Utah; a new depletion contract for water stored in Flaming Gorge Reservoir.





During the public scoping meetings for the development of 2007 Interim Guidelines, the water managers in attendance were emphatic; that reductions greater than 20% would be "impossible" to achieve. This is why the seven states did not participate in the voluntary prescriptions of the original Guidelines, until reservoir elevations approached the level where intakes at Glen Canyon Dam begin to suck air.

Precautionary planning in the Colorado River Basin was possible in 1970 when Long Range Operating Criteria (LROC) became the first tool to achieve water resource sustainibilty, and precautionary planning right now is a situation of too little and too late.  Because this economic engine is designed for consumptive uses of 16.5 million acre-feet annualy, not 12.5 maf (a reduction of minus 25%). Consequently, the decision-makers have to understand that this ship has already slammed into an iceberg. We will eventually understand that the best solution is to begin conversations about starting over.

Read: Revelle and Wagoneer, 1983

The proposed reductions from the Lower Basin States, as of this date, is about 12% per year. The ask from Reclamation was a range from 14% to 27%. Additionally, it would appear that the Upper Basin states will not be participating in any reductions at this time. The Upper Basin states are building and enlarging dams at the present time, and other diversion contracts have been proposed. Consequently, the grassroots have intervened by engaging the judicial branch of governement.

At the end of the next decade, reductions of 30% will be necessary; and then 40% in the following decades thereafter. Especially if the municipalities continue to sprawl across the deserts of North America, and fueling that growth by purchasing water from farmers that take the responsibility of feeding the nation very seriously.

Proposed new sources of water, such as constructing desalination facilities, and the electric generating stations that will power them, and the pipelines, and the pump stations, and the transmission wires, will not be operational in the 2030s, nor in the 2040s.

So these are the decades when the system will crash and the assets of 50 to 60 million people become stranded.

If your thinking otherwise, consider that it took parts of four decades to negotiate the Law of the River, and to finish the construction of Hoover Dam, the All American Canal, and the Colorado River Aqueduct.

We can anticipate the depletion of our groundwater supplies as the third and final bad planning decision, and witness the great abandonment of this geography.

Rather than kicking a rusty can in the wrong direction, let's stop this madness and take a completely different pathway.

  • Read our 2022 prescoping comment letter HERE, which concludes that this process must include an emergency action plan because the seven states will fail once again and the system will be lost.
  • Review the entire prescoping process from last year (2022) HERE



Federal Register Notices of 2023 and from 2005

Scoping Summaries



Termination date of 2007 Guidelines
See: 2007 Record of Decision.

  • "Except as provided in Section 8.B., these Guidelines shall terminate on December 31, 2025 (through preparation of the 2026 Annual Operating Plan)."

Termination dates of "Special Provisions"

  • 1. "The provisions for the delivery and accounting of ICS in Section 3 shall remain in effect through December 31, 2036, unless subsequently modified, for any ICS remaining in an ICS Account on December 31, 2026."
  • 2. "The provisions for the creation and delivery of Tributary Conservation ICS and Imported ICS in Section 3 shall continue in full force and effect until fifty years from the date of the execution of the ROD."
  • 3. "The provisions for the creation and delivery of DSS in Section 4 shall continue in full force and effect until fifty years from the date of the execution of the ROD."


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