UT eyes and ears on Jewell speech about Colorado River

FILE - Colorado River. Photo courtesy the U-S Fish and Wildlife Service.

LAS VEGAS – Utah’s water interests are at stake as U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell speaks about the Colorado River at a meeting in Las Vegas today.

Jewell’s presentation is part of the Colorado River Water Users Association 2013 Annual Conference. 

Eric Millis, director of Utah Division of Water Resources, says he hopes to hear messages of cooperation during the Jewell’s address.

“Looking how we will meet future water needs,” he adds. “How we will meet current water needs in light of the drought that’s going on, and just working through things like that. It’s very important for the seven basin states to get together.”

There are reports that government studies project that Colorado River supply will be overwhelmed by demand in future decades. 

More than 30 million people in Utah, Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Wyoming depend on the river.

Jewell’s presentation is titled Action Is Imperative – We Need a Balanced Approach to Bridge the Gap between Supply and Demand on the Colorado River. 

Millis emphasizes that Utah and the other states dependent upon the Colorado are focused on using less water when possible.

“For Utah, anyways, that’s our first line of how we’re going to meet future water needs, is water conservation,” he says.

Finding new supplies of water is also being discussed. 

There are ideas out there of piping water from the Missouri River and other rivers into the Colorado. There are also concepts of reusing water from oil and gas development and using desalinated ocean water.

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