communication among federal agencies, the basin states, and municipalities on urban water management strategies and alternatives. It could also encourage a sustained commitment toward a more proactive approach to managing urban water during periods of drought and in the face of growing population.
A comprehensive, action-oriented study of Colorado River region urban water practices and changing patterns of demand should be conducted, as such a study could provide a more systematic basis for water resources planning across the region. At a minimum, the study should address and analyze the following issues:
historical adjustments to droughts and water shortages,
local and regional water demand forecasting,
experiences in drought and contingency planning,
impacts of increasing urban demands on riparian ecology,
long-term impacts associated with agriculture-urban transfers, and
contemporary urban water polices and practices (e.g., conservation, landscaping, water use efficiency technologies).
The study could be conducted by the Colorado River basin states, a U.S. federal agency or agencies, a group of universities from across the region, or some combination thereof. The basin states and the U.S. Congress should collaborate on a strategy for commissioning and funding this study. These groups should be prepared to take action based on this study’s findings in order to improve the region’s preparedness for future inevitable droughts and water shortages.