THE““UPPERBASINVOLUNTARYDEMANDCAP””ASAMEANSOFMITIGATING LEGALUNCERTAINTYINTHECOLORADORIVERBASIN:MODELINGRESULTS
AReportoftheColoradoRiverGovernanceInitiative1 April,2013  Introduction InpreviouspublicationsoftheColoradoRiverGovernanceInitiative(CRGI),weconcludedone ofthemostimportantsourcesofuncertaintyinthebasinarethelegaluncertaintiesregarding theobligationsoftheUpperBasintoreleasewatertotheLowerBasin.Specifically,wehave highlightedthreerelatedandhighlysalientquestions:(1)doestheUpperBasinhavean obligationtodeliver7.5MAF/yeardownstream(onaverage)forLowerBasinconsumption;(2) doestheUpperBasinhaveanobligationtodeliverhalftheMexicanTreatyobligation(0.75 MAF/year)downstream;and(3)canthefailuretoachieveoneorbothoftheseobjectives triggeracompactcall?2Thesearefundamentalquestions,astheylargelydeterminelongͲterm wateravailabilityinthebasin.Buttheyarealsolargelyignoredquestions,asuptothispoint, norulingonthesequestionshasbeenrequiredtooperatethesystem——afortunatebyproduct ofUpperBasindemandsstillbeinglowenoughtoallowbothofthepresumed““delivery obligations””tobefulfilled.WherethesequestionscurrentlyariseareinlongͲtermsystem modeling,thelatestexamplebeingworkconductedfortheColoradoRiverBasinWaterSupply andDemandStudy(the““BasinStudy””).3 Unfortunately,duetopoliticalsensitivities,theBasinStudydidnotprovide,orattemptto provide,adirectanalysisofthesequestions,asthemodelingassumptionswereconstructedin awaytominimizetheneedforcontroversiallegalassumptions.Thisisbestillustratedbythe conceptof““miraclewater.””InmodelingscenariosinwhichtheUpperBasincouldphysically notdeliver7.5MAFdownstreamwithoutcurtailingUpperBasindepletions,theapproachwas toallowUpperBasinusestoproceedwithoutcurtailmentwhilemagicallyconjuringupthe7.5 MAFdesiredbytheLowerBasinandinjectingitintothesystemdownstreamofLeesFerry—— evenifitwouldnotphysicallyexistinreality.Thissatisfiesthelegalinterpretationsand politicalobjectivesofbothbasins:theLowerBasinreceivesthe7.5MAFwhichtheybelieveis  

Formoreinformation,visitwww.waterpolicy.infoorcontactCRGI.CU@gmail.comorCRGIDirectorDougKenney (douglas.kenney@colorado.edu). 2 Themostcompletesummaryoftheseargumentshavebeenpublishedas:Robison,Jason,andDouglasS. Kenney.2013.EquityandtheColoradoRiver.EnvironmentalLaw,42(4):1157Ͳ1209[availableat: http://law.lclark.edu/live/files/13155ͲrobisonͲͲkenneyfinalͲforͲwebsitepdf].Avarietyofsupportingdocuments canbefoundattheColoradoRiverInformationPortalathttp://waterpolicy.info/projects/CRIP/index.html. 3 http://www.usbr.gov/lc/region/programs/crbstudy/finalreport/index.html
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owedtothemunder rtheCompact,andtheUpper U Basindoesnotha avetomakeanyconcess sions orclarific cationsregardingwhichmanagementscenarios s,ifany,wou uldrequireUpper U Basin curtailme entsand/ortheimpositi ionofaCom mpactcall.The T modelscan c keeptrackofthe magnitud deofmiracle ewateraccu umulations,butthereisnonecessity yinthemod delingto subtractthisfromUp pperBasinuses u orelsew where(suchasfromrese ervoirstorag ge).Whileth hisis donetoallow a model lingtoproce eedforwardwithoutbeingblockedby b disputesoverlegal interpret tations,itcanhideshort tagesand,more m fundam mentally,therelationship pbetweenle egal interpret tationsandthe t distribut tionofshortages. Ifthecom mmonassum mptionisutilizedthatth he7.5MAF/y year(averag ge)deliveryof o water downstre eamis,infac ct,afirmob bligationthat tcouldbeen nforcedbyCompact C callcurtailmentson UpperBa asinuse,the ena““squeez ze””onUpper rBasindeple etionscanoccur,especiallyunder climatechange c scena ariosthatfeaturedecreasedlongͲte ermflows.This T wasgrap phicallyshow wn byCRGIin i thefollow wingfigure: 

Figu ure1.WaterAvailability y(bysubͲbas sin)asaFun nctionofLon ngͲTermAve erageFlows4 

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Thisgraphicwasfirstpu ublishedasFig gure8in““RethinkingtheFutu ureoftheColo oradoRiver,””th heInterimRep portof ve(December, ,2010),availab bleattheColoradoRiverInfo ormationPorta al: theColoradoRiverGovernanceInitiativ

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ThesharpdeclineinUpperBasinwateravailability5istheunavoidableconsequenceofhaving toreleasewaterdownstreambeforesatisfyingUpperBasindemandswhich,again,isapointof legaldispute,inpartbasedontheCompactwordinginSectionIII(d)thatdoesnotdescribe thesereleasesasan““deliveryobligation,””andinpartonthepremiseofequitythatruns throughtheCompact.AsshownintheFigure1,adeclineinaveragestreamflowsof20%——well withinthescopeofmanyclimatechangestudies——couldresultinasituationinwhichLower BasinwateravailabilityfromthemainstemisroughlytwicethatoftheUpperBasin,despitethe intentoftheCompact(asshowninArticleIII(a))toallocateequalsharesamongbasins. ImposingafirmobligationupontheUpperBasintodeliverpartoftheMexicanobligationonly intensifiestheeffect.Obviously,thissqueezecouldhavecatastrophicconsequencesforUpper Basinusers,leadingustospeculatethatthesituationwouldeitherneveroccur——i.e.,a negotiatedsolutionorsuccessfulUpperBasinlitigationwouldstopthecurtailments——orwould occuronlyaftersuccessfulLowerBasinlitigation.Anyofthesesolutions,however,couldtake avarietyofformsandanumberofyears——perhapsdecades——tocomplete,andtheoutcome wouldhavesignificantandimmediateimpactsonwateravailabilityinbothbasins.Thislegal uncertaintyhangsoverthebasin——andhasforatleast65years6.Arguably,thissourceof uncertaintyoutweighstheclimateanddemanduncertaintiesexposedandfeaturedintheBasin Studyanalysis. Thereisnowaytoallocatewaterdifferentlybetweenthetwobasinsthatresultsinanet basinwidegaininwateravailability;itisazeroͲsumeffort.Buttherearewaystoallocatewater thatbalancestheriskofclimateͲrelatedshortagesmoreequitablybetweenbasins,andwhich hasthebenefitofreplacinguncertaintywithcertainty.Inwatermanagement,thevalueof certaintycannotbeunderestimated,andasarguedabove,thegreatestthreattocertaintyis themannerinwhichthelegalambiguitiesandomissionswillultimatelybeaddressed.Remove 

http://waterpolicy.info/projects/CRIP/index.html.Thefigureisbasedonahostofhighly(andintentionally) debatableassumptionsandsimplifications;thus,itshouldbeviewedasastartingpointfordiscussion,ratherthan aformalprojectionorlegalinterpretation.Specifically,inscenarioswherethelongͲtermaverageLeeFerryflowis 14.5MAF/yearorhigher,itassumesthattheUpperBasinwillberequiredtomaintainaminimumdelivery scheduleof8.23MAF/yearinordertosatisfytheCompactandTreaty,andthattheLowerBasinwillberequiredto pass1.5MAF/yearofthiswatertoMexico,withtheremainderavailableforusebytheLowerBasin.Inscenarios wherethelongͲtermaverageLeeFerryflowis14.0MAF/yearorless,itassumestheUpperBasinwillberequired tomaintainaminimumdeliveryscheduleof8.18MAF/yearinordertosatisfytheCompactandTreaty,andthat theLowerBasinwillberequiredtopass1.4MAF/yearofthiswatertoMexico.(Notethatthisfigurewas developedpriortoMinute319;thoserules,ifmodeledhere,wouldhaveanegligibleimpactonthetrendlines shownhere.)Allvaluesaremaximumwateravailableforusebeforesubtractingevaporationorotherlosses. 5 Notethatthe““availability””ofwaterandtheentitlementorallocationofwaterareseparate(butobviously related)issues.TheCompactisclearthattheUpperBasinisallocated7.5MAF/yearofconsumptiveuses(Article III(a)),butvirtuallynoclimatescenario(paleo,historic,orfutureprojections)suggeststhisisarealisticpossibilityif anobligationtopasswaterdownstreamexists. 6 ThisconcernispartofthesubtextoftheUpperBasinCompactnegotiations(circa1948)[transcriptsavailableat http://lawpac.colorado.edu/record=b119651],andisreflectedinthedecisiontoallocateUpperBasinsharesin percentagesratherthanfixedvalues.

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theselegaluncertaintiesandthedoorisopentoavarietyofdealsandcopingmechanisms,and theneedtopreparefor““legalshocks””tothesystemareavoided.This,inanutshell,wasthe motivationforthe““UpperBasinVoluntaryDemandCap””optionsubmittedbytheCRGItothe BasinStudyforanalysis.Thefactthatthisoption——andtheothersoͲcalled““governance”” options7——werenotanalyzedisthemotivationforthismemo.  TheDemandCapConcept ThecentralideaoftheUpperBasinVoluntaryDemandCap(hereafterthe““DemandCap””)is thattheUpperBasinagreestolimittotalUpperBasindepletionsatanegotiatedlevel(well belowthetheoretical7.5MAF/year)and,inreturn,isassuredthatneitherthefederal governmentnorthestatesoftheLowerBasinwillrequestorsupportadministrationofan interͲbasincompactcallinanyperiodwhenstorageinLakePowellisinsufficienttomaintain thepredetermineddownstreamreleaseobjective.8Establishingthevalueofthe““cap””andthe releaseobjectivearepointstobenegotiated;buttheprincipleistoestablishthesenumbersin advanceofacrisisandwithoutaneedtolitigatetheomissionsandambiguitiesthatexistinthe CompactandrelatedelementsoftheLawoftheRiver.Inthatregard,theDemandCapisnot intendedtoreplaceoramendtheCompact9,butrather,isanoperationalregimeplacedontop ofthisfoundation——followingtheprecedentofthe2007InterimGuidelinesforLowerBasin ShortagesandCoordinatedOperationsforLakePowellandLakeMead(InterimGuidelines). AlsoanalogoustotheInterimGuidelines,enactmentofthevoluntaryagreementwouldrequire theunanimousagreementofthesevenbasinstates,andindoingso,wouldestablisha temporaryarrangement.Inthiscase,theproposedoperatingregimewouldremainineffect foratermof40years,subjecttorenewal(nolaterthan10yearspriortoexpiration)by affirmativeactionbyaminimumof5of7states.Theagreementcouldbemodifiedor  

41of160submittedoptionswerecharacterizedasinvolvinggovernance;see http://www.usbr.gov/lc/region/programs/crbstudy/finalreport/techrptF.html. 8 TheDemandCapproposalcanbefoundintwoslightlymodifiedforms:theoriginalversionintheBasinStudy materials(option117at http://www.usbr.gov/lc/region/programs/crbstudy/finalreport/Technical%20Report%20F%20Ͳ %20Development%20of%20Options%20and%20Stategies/Appendix%202%20Ͳ %20Options%20Submitted%20to%20the%20Study/Appendix%20F2%20Ͳ %20Options%20Submitted%20to%20the%20Study.pdf),andaslightlyupdatedversionontheColoradoRiver InformationPortal (http://waterpolicy.info/archives/docs/Upper%20Basin%20Voluntary%20Demand%20Cap,%20amended%20Feb% 202012.pdf?p=1683).Neitherversionisreprintedhereinit’’sentirelyasthefollowingsectionprovidesthemost comprehensivearticulationandanalysistodate. 9 Infact,theDemandCapproposalisseenasawaytohonorandreinforcetheheartoftheCompact,whichisthe commitmenttoanequalsharingofwateramongthetwobasins.
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terminatedatanytimebyunanimousagreementofthestates.Onceterminated,theLawof theRiver,asitcurrentlyexists,providesthedefaultlegalandoperationalregime. TheDemandCapisnotacompletelynewidea,asasimilarideawasoncefloatedataBasin StudymeetinginAlbuquerque.10Then,asnow,theidearaisesseveralconcerns.Firstand foremost,whilethevalueofeliminatinglegaluncertaintyisundeniablyattractiveandvaluable, thereisabenefitassociatedwithuncertaintyinthatitallowsallpartiestoretainhopeforthe legalinterpretationthatbestsuitstheirinterests.ToagreetoacapforcestheUpperBasinto concedea““practical””apportionmentsignificantlylessthan7.5MAF11;similarly,agreeingtothe proposalforcestheLowerBasintoconcedethattheirapportionmentisnotseniortoallUpper Basinuses(exceptUpperBasinPresentPerfectedRights).Forbothparties,theideamakes senseonlytotheextentthatthe““concessions””involvedaremorethanoffsetbythevalueof thereducedlegaluncertaintyandtheotherancillarybenefitsoftheproposal.Insummary, potentialbenefitsoftheDemandCap(ascomparedtothestatusquo)include: x ThethreatofaninterͲbasinCompactcalliscompletelyeliminated——therebyprotecting existingUpperBasinwaterusersfromacall,andeliminatingtherelianceofLowerBasin usersonsuccessfullylitigatingacall——asistheneedforanyinterim litigation/negotiationconcerningtheexistenceofanUpperBasin““deliveryobligation”” andseveralrelatedlegalissues(includingtheUpperBasin’’sshareoftheMexican deliveryobligationandtheuseofLowerBasintributaries); TheDemandCaparrangementprovidesmechanisms(namely,theUpperBasincapon consumption)thatencouragethemaintenanceofstorageinLakePowell(andallthe associatedbenefitsthereof,includingdroughtprotection,andprotectionofrecreation andhydropowerindustries); Withtheexceptionofsomenewadministrativeexpenses(associatedprimarilywith trackingUpperBasinconsumption),theDemandCapoptionrequiresnonew expenditures,andinfactislikelytosavesignificantpublicfundsbyeliminatingor reducingtheneedformanyexpensiveriskͲcopingstrategies,andbyreducingthe financialcosts(andpotentialimpacts)oflitigation;and, Thearrangementprovidesafoundationuponwhichmanyemergingandnewreforms couldbeestablished,whilemaintainingtheexistingLawoftheRiverasthedefault

x

x

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See:Kuhn,Eric.2011.RiskManagementStrategiesfortheUpperColoradoRiverBasin.DraftofJune7. Arguably,thishasalreadyoccurredinUpperBasinreports,includingtheseminalstudybyTiptonandKalbach (1965)estimatinglongͲtermUpperBasinwateravailabilityasrangingfrom4.7to6.3MAF/year.(Tiptonand Kalbach,Inc.1965.WaterSuppliesoftheColoradoRiver.ReportpreparedfortheUpperColoradoRiver Commission.Denver,July.)ThisisalsodoneintheHydrologicDeterminations. 
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condition.Bylargelyremovingortemperingthe““gamechanging””uncertainties (associatedwiththeeffectofclimatechangeonaverageandextremeflows,andthe interpretationofkeyLawoftheRiverissues),theDemandCapestablishesan environmentencouragingfurtherinnovations(includingriveraugmentation).  TheModelingEffort Thefollowingmodelingwasconductedinsummerandfall2012usingCRSS12byKevinWheeler, ownerofWaterBalanceConsulting(andaproductoftheUniversityofColoradoCenterfor AdvancedDecisionSupportforWaterandEnvironmentalSystems(CADSWES)).Thisworkwas donecommensuratewiththeBasinStudyand,assuch,utilizedassumptionsfromthat investigationwhereverpossible——withafewnotableexceptions.Modelingresultsareshown below,precededbyadiscussionofsomeprominentmodelingassumptionsandadjustments thatshapedthestudydesign.  MethodologyandAssumptions Themodelingapproachwastocomparetheperformanceofthedemandcapscenarioagainsta statusquo(hereafterthe““Baseline””)scenario,primarilyfromthestandpointofconsumption levelsinbothbasinsandreservoirstorage.Thesearethemacrolevelvariablesofinterestin anyoperationalregimethatmodifiestherelationshipbetweentheUpperandLowerBasin.For bothscenarios,inputs(supplies)derivefromuseofthedownscaledGCMprojectedhydrology. Thatclimaticscenario,whichassumeswarming,hasthefurtherinfluenceofaugmenting demandsspecifiedintheBasinStudy’’sScenarioAdemandschedule.13Thesesupplyand demandelementshaveavarietyofembeddedassumptionsandshortcomings,notdetailed here,butwereselectedtodovetailtheanalysiswiththeBasinStudytotheextentpossible. Similarly,weutilizedtheBasinStudytimehorizon,whichextendsto2060.Someofthe benefitsoftheDemandCapproposalareprobablymoreevidentatlaterdates,butwecould notexplorethispointwithoutaccesstosupplyanddemandscenariosextendingpast2060. Toperformthiscomparison,afewelementsofCRSShadtobemodified.Asforeshadowed earlier,themiraclewateralgorithmhadtobemodifiedintwoways.First,inthoseinstancesin whichmiraclewaterwasutilizedintheBaselinescenarios,thosequantitiesweresubtracted fromUpperBasinusetogetanaccuratevalueofhowmuchwatertheUpperBasinactually  

CRSSistheColoradoRiverSimulationSystem,aRiverWarebasedmodelthatistheofficialmodelusedbythe BureauofReclamationforsystemoperationsandscenarioplanning. 13 Theimpactofassumedwarmingondemandsissignificant,averageroughly0.5MAF/yearby2060.
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consumed.FailuretodosowouldmakecomparisonsoftheBaselinetotheDemandCap scenariomeaningless.Second,themiraclewateralgorithmisunlimited——i.e.,theprogramcan addinmorewaterthanwouldphysicallybemadeavailablefromUpperBasincurtailments.As amatterofphysicsandpolicy,welimitedmiraclewatertotheamountthatcouldactuallybe achievedthroughUpperBasincurtailments,subjecttotheprotectionofUpperBasinPresent PerfectedRights(whichweassumetobe2.2MAF). AlsoproblematicwasthefactthatCRSSoperatesbasedondemands,notdepletions.Despite thename““DemandCap,””ourproposalis,inreality,adepletioncap.Additionally,insatisfying demands,CRSStracksofwateravailabilityanddemandsinvariousreaches/tributaries,and doesnotsatisfydemandsinagivenriversegmentwherewaterisphysicallyunavailable.For thepurposesofouranalysis,thislevelofdetailissomewhatcounterproductive,asweassume thatonceafirmcapisinplace,physicalandinstitutionaladjustmentswouldbemadetoensure fulluseofthecap.AdjustmentsweremadetohittheUpperBasindepletionmaximums describedintheDemandCapscenarios. BoththeBaselineandDemandCapscenariosrequiredrefinements.Ofthetwo,specifyingthe Baselinescenariowasthelargerchallenge,asitrequiressomeassumptionsabouthowthe currentrulesmightactuallybeinterpretedinpractice.Twoissuesareparticularlysalient.First, themagnitudeoftheUpperBasindeliveryobligationhadtobespecifiedatsomelevel,with7.5 MAF/yearand8.25MAF/yearbeingobviouscandidates.Ratherthanchooseoneoftheother, weutilizedbothvalues(thuscreatingtwoBaselinescenarios).Second,theInterimGuidelines arescheduledtoexpirein2026ifnotrenewedormodified.Wechoosetokeepthese guidelinesthroughoutthefullscenario.Totheextentthatotherlegalassumptionswere required,unlessotherwisenoted,weretainedtherulesalreadycodifiedinCRSS. ThreeadjustmentstotheoriginalDemandCapscenarioarenotable.First,weoriginally proposedusingacapvaluethatincludedUpperBasinevaporationlosses.Ultimately,we decidedtospecifyanUpperBasincapnumberbeforeevaporation,whichimmunizedtheUpper Basinfromthepracticalchallengeoftryingtopredictevaporationpreciselyinanygivenyear. (Weassumethoselossestobeintheneighborhoodof0.5MAF/year.)Second,inorderto investigatethepotentialbenefitsoftheDemandCapproposalinprotectingreservoirstorage, wequicklyrealizedthatitmightbeadvisabletopreventtheLowerBasinfromusingsurpluses attributabletoenforcementoftheUpperBasincap.Todothis,aLowerBasincapof7.5 MAF/yearwasimposedthroughoutmostoftheDemandCapscenarios.Andthird,through initialmodelingrunswedeterminedthatanUpperBasincapof4.5MAF/year(notcounting evaporation)wasthebestvalueforillustratingthetradeͲoffsinherenttotheDemandCap. (Theoriginalproposalsuggested5.5MAF——roughly5MAFindepletionsand0.5MAFin

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evaporation——asastartingpointofanalysis.)Ofcourse,weencouragesubsequentanalyses thatfeatureabroaderrangeofvalues.  Results Theresultspresentedbelowarefromthesixth(andfinal)iteration,bywhichtimethekey modelingissuesdescribedabovehadbeenidentifiedandresolved.Eachfigureprovidesresults forthreescenarios: 75Prot22 Thisbaselinescenarioassumesadeliveryobligationaveraging7.5MAF/year. FailuretodeliverthisvolumeresultsinUpperBasincurtailmentsasnecessary tomeetthisdelivery,withthecaveatthat2.2MAFofUpperBasinPresent PerfectedRightsarealwaysprotectedfromcurtailment(hencethe““Prot22”” nomenclature). Thisbaselinescenarioassumesadeliveryobligationaveraging8.25MAF/year. Aswith75Prot22,failuretodeliverthisvolumeresultsinUpperBasin curtailmentsasnecessarytomeetthisdelivery,withthecaveatthat2.2MAF ofUpperBasinPresentPerfectedRightsarealwaysprotectedfrom curtailment.

82.5Prot22

4.5DoubleCap ThisDemandCapscenarioallowstheUpperBasintodeplete4.5MAF/year beforeevaporativelosses(roughly0.5MAF/year),andadditionallycaps LowerBasinconsumptionat7.5MAF/year.NoUpperBasindelivery obligationisenforced(i.e.,noCompactcalls).  Afewfiguresplottwoadditionalvariables: ASchedule(withClimateChange) ThesearetheprojectedUpperBasindemandsfromthe BasinStudy““ScheduleA””demandscheduleasadjusted(increased)toreflect theaddeddemandsassociatedwiththedownscaledGCMprojected hydrology. 4.5SingleCap ThisDemandCapscenarioallowstheUpperBasintodeplete4.5MAF/year beforeevaporativelosses(roughly0.5MAF/year).NocaponLowerBasin consumptionisenforced.NoUpperBasindeliveryobligationisenforced(i.e., noCompactcalls).

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Collectively,thesevariablesallowustotrackdifferencesinhowtheDemandCapaffectswater availability(measuredintermsoftheamountofconsumptionallowed)andchangesin reservoirstorage.Asapracticalmatter,watermanagersarelikelytowanthighlevelsofboth variables,althoughinrealitythereisafixedquantityofwater,andmaximizingboth consumptionandstorageatalltimesisanimpossibility.Similarly,itisanimpossibilityto simultaneouslyincreasewaterconsumptionandstorageforallusers;inputstothesystemare notmodifiedacrossallthescenarios——i.e.,theyallusethesamedownscaledGCMprojected hydrology——sothisisazeroͲsumexercise.Thus,thewaytoevaluatetheresultsistocompare thequantitativetradeͲoffsintermsofsupplies(asmeasuredbyconsumption),storage(as measuredbyreservoirvolume/elevation),andreliability,andtodothiswithrespecttothe nonͲquantitativetradeͲoffsassociatedwiththe““ease””ofmaintainingthestatusquo(offered bytheBaselinescenarios)versusthebenefitsofeliminatinglegaluncertainties(offeredbythe DemandCapscenarios). GiventheimportanceofthesenonͲquantitativevariables,itisimpossibleforustoimpartially establishanyscenarioasthe““winner””or““best,””andthus,toarguefororagainstenactmentof theDemandCappolicy.Butthatisnotthepointofthisexercise.Thepointistoillustrate tradeͲoffsandopportunitiesassociatedwiththepursuitofagovernanceͲbasedsolution,inthis case,aDemandCapscenario.WhetherornottheDemandCapisagoodapproachiscertainly debatable;whetherornotgovernanceͲbasedreformsshouldbepartofthesearchforsolutions isnot.Basinleaderswillsoonbeforcedtomakedecisionsregardingseveralgovernanceand LawoftheRiveritems,includingextensionoftheInterimGuidelines;thedefinitionofUpper Basindeliveryobligations,ifany,totheLowerBasinand/ortoMexico;thedesignand implementation,ifany,ofaninterbasinCompactcall;thequantificationofUpperBasinPresent PerfectedRights;andsoon.Again,muchoftheappealoftheDemandCapisthatitcan subordinateorcompletelyeliminatemanyofthemostdivisiveissues,anddosoinawaythat leavestheCompactunalteredandasthedefaultinstitutionalframework.   

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Depletions:UpperBasin  

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Depletions:LowerBasin  

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ReservoirStorage  

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FindingsandConclusions TheprecedingfiguresillustratesomeofthemostimportanttradeͲoffsassociatedwithadopting theDemandCapproposal.Asnotedearlier,thedatadoesnotallowustomakeadefinitive rulingaboutwhichapproachisbest,butitdoesallowustospeculateonthetradeͲoffs (assuminga4.5MAFcap)thatwouldbecentraltoanydecisionͲmaking.Whatwebelievetobe thesalientlessonsofFigures2through7aresummarizedbelow.  Depletions:UpperBasin Theplotofaveragedepletions(Figure2)isperhapsmostnotableforshowinghowboththe BaselineandDemandCapscenariosfallwellbelowthedemandsassociatedwithScheduleA anddownscaledGCMprojectedhydrology.TheDemandCapdoesnotsolvethisproblemof unmetdemands,butneitherdoeseitherBaseline.14Thus,thisplotisabetterillustrationofthe UpperBasinsupply/demandmismatchthanitisinstructiveinilluminatingasolution. ThePDF(probabilitydistributionfunction)showninFigure3illustratesakeyfeatureofthe DemandCap,asUpperBasindepletionsarerelativelyflatandstablewhencomparedtothe Baselinescenarios.Overall,theBaselinescenariosofferslightlymorewaterabout60%ofthe timeandslightlylessabout40%ofthetime,withbigdifferencesseenonlyattheextremes.Of course,muchofwatermanagementisfocusedonmanagementattheextremes. Overall,theUpperBasindepletionfiguresillustratethat,whiletheDemandCapconceptmight firstseemlikearadicalandsignificantconcessionfortheUpperBasin,theeffectduringthe studyperiodisrelativelymodest——atleastatthe4.5caplevel.Extendingthetimehorizonpast 2060wouldlikelyyieldmoredramaticresults,aswouldchangingtheclimatehydrology assumptions.Ultimately,fortheUpperBasin,thekeydecisionsarewhetherornotlosingthe extremehighsisworthbeinginsulatedagainsttheextremelows,andwhetherornottabling thelegalissues(forthetermoftheagreement)ispreferabletoleavingthoseopen.  Depletions:LowerBasin Notsurprisingly,theplotofaverageLowerBasindepletions(Figure4)showstheneteffectof theDemandCapistolimitLowerBasindepletionsbelowwhatwouldbepossiblegiventhe Baselinescenariosassumingenforcementofeithera7.5MAF/yearor8.25MAF/yearUpper  

ItisquitepossiblethatCRSSoverestimatestheUBshortagesforeachofthesescenarios,inthattheresolutionof themodeldoesnotincludesomeexistingstoragereservoirsand,thus,mayunderestimatetheabilityofthe systemtomeetsomedemands.
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Basindeliveryobligation——althoughthedifferencesarenotextreme(notetheyͲaxisdivisions areonly200KAF).Again,whetherornottheLowerBasincanrealisticallyexpecttosurmount thelegalandpoliticalhurdlesassociatedwithenforcingeitherdeliveryobligationisastrategic considerationthatcannotbeshownquantitatively.IntheDemandCapscenario,theLower Basinisnotrequiredtopursue(orprevailin)suchlitigation. TheotherkeystrategicconsiderationfortheLowerBasinistheeffectoftheDemandCapon watersupplyreliability.ThePDF(Figure5)showsvirtuallynosignificantdifferencesin reliabilityovermostoftheruns,withthenotableexceptionofthelowesttailwhichshowshow theDemandCapshiftssomeoftheclimaterisktotheLowerBasin.Thisisaninherentand predictableconsequenceof““easing””someoftheclimateriskontheUpperBasin(explained earlierandshowninFigure1).TheDemandCapisassumedtoamelioratethisconcernby betterprotectingreservoirstorage,thesubjectofthefollowingsetoffigures.  ReservoirStorage TheimpactoftheDemandCaponreservoirstorageisconsistentlypositive——i.e.,betterthan eitherBaselinescenario,andespeciallynotableinthelateryearsoftheruns.AverageLake Meadelevation,forexample,isroughly20feethigherintheDemandCapscenariothanthe7.5 MAF/year(““75Prot22””)scenarioby2060(Figure6).ThestoryforLakePowellisalso consistentlypositive,inthattheDemandCapresultsingreaterstoragethaneitherBaseline (Figure7). NotethatFigure7alsoshowstheimpactofa““singlecap””——i.e.,justanUpperBasincapas originallyproposed——onreservoirstorage.The““doublecap””wasutilizedinthismodelingfor fearthat,withouttheLowerBasincap,anygainsinLakePowellreservoirstoragemightbelost tosurplususesdownstream.Figure8showsthesefearswereprobablyoverblown,asno discernibleimpactisseenforLakePowell.  Conclusions Overall,themodelingoftheDemandCapshowsthat,comparedtothestatusquo,this institutionalreformcan(a)betterbalancetheriskofwatersupplyperturbationsassociated withclimatechangebetweentheUpperandLowerBasins,(b)eliminatemanysignificantlegal uncertainties,and(c)protectandenhancereservoirstorage,allwhilehavingmodestimpacts onwateravailableforconsumptiveuseinbothbasins.Whetherornotthisisviewedasan improvementoverthestatusquoisamatterofpersonaljudgment,andrestsonassumptions
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aboutwhatthestatusquomightactuallyentail.Itisworthnotingthat,formodelingpurposes, specifyingtheBaseline(statusquo)scenariosprovedmuchmoredifficultthantheDemand Cap,whichisapowerfulreminderthatsignificantlegalomissionsandambiguitiesexistinthe LawoftheRiverduringperiodsofwaterscarcity. Thatagovernancereformcanmitigateagainstbothhydrologic(climatechange)andlegal uncertaintiesisevidencethatthisclassofreformsneedtobeconsideredprominentlyinthe searchforsolutions,despitetheiromissionintheBasinStudyanalysisandthehesitancyof manypartiestodiscussmattersoflawandpolitics.Thefactis,thethornylegalandpolicy issuesthatexistwillatsomepointdemandresolution,andthetimetodothatisbeforethe reservoirsareemptyandthespecterofaCompactcallhastakencenterstage.Conceptually, solutionsthatprotecttheCompactfromlegalchallengesshouldhavebroadappeal;the DemandCapisonepathwaytothatfuture.

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