Photo: Jenny Sparks/Loveland Reporter-Herald
Julia Rentsch, Loveland Reporter-Herald

The Colorado River Basin is facing nearly 20 years of drought. To address drought concerns, some Colorado River water rights holders on the Front Range may soon see their water allocations reduced.

Local water managers came to the Loveland City Council meeting Tuesday night “wringing (their) hands” over the Colorado River flows and the uncertainties ahead related to policy and Mother Nature.

About 40 million people depend on Colorado River water across several states, said Larry Howard, senior civil engineer for water resources for the city. But Lake Powell in Utah and Lake Mead in Nevada are slowly draining, and their levels are concerning water managers as they close in on minimum levels necessary to run hydroelectric equipment.

“It will be addressed, but how, we don’t know,” said Kyle Whitaker, senior water resources engineer for Northern Water.

In addition to the lowering reservoir levels, concerns abound over the upper basin states (Colorado is one of them) being able to fulfill their legal obligations under the Colorado River Compact, which requires a certain amount of water to be delivered downstream each year.

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