low aerial view of colorado river next to the trail

Utah is Committed to Living within Its Colorado River Allocation

January 18, 2022

The state of Utah recognizes and is closely monitoring changing hydrology on the Colorado River. Because Utah’s citizens are among the millions who rely on the Colorado River, this is an issue of critical importance to our state and the West. 

According to Article 3 (d) of the 1922 Colorado River Compact, “The States of the Upper Division will not cause the flow of the river at Lee Ferry to be depleted below an aggregate of 75 million acre-feet for any period of ten consecutive years….”  

The Upper Division States have not only consistently satisfied this obligation, but they have also exceeded it. In its 72nd Annual Report on Water Year 2020, the Upper Colorado Basin  Commission reports data that the flow at Lee Ferry during the 10-year period ending on Sept. 30, 2020, was 92,509,400 acre-feet.  Provisional data from the USGS for Water Year 2021 suggests that the flow at Lee Ferry ending on Sept. 30, 2021, was 88,049,400.

Regardless of future hydrology, Utah is committed to living within our allocation of 23% of the supply available to the Upper Basin, whatever that amount may be. To that end, Utah is implementing a number of proactive measures, including a large investment of resources on conservation, reuse measures and farm irrigation efficiencies. In laying out his fiscal year 2023 budget priorities, Utah Gov. Spencer Cox has proposed allocating over $500 million for water conservation and restoration projects.