Western States Water Council

A Voice for Water in the West 


27th Annual Wallace Stegner Center Symposium

27th Annual Wallace Stegner Center Symposium | Annual Water & Tribes Initiative Basinwide Gathering

The Colorado River Compact: Navigating the Future
March 17-18, 2022
University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law | Salt Lake City, Utah

The Colorado River Compact of 1922 is widely considered the cornerstone of the Law of the River, the collection of laws and policies that govern use of the Colorado River system. As fate would have it, the Compact’s 100th anniversary coincides with a major milestone for the Law of the River. The current management framework for the Colorado River system—a regime that implements the Compact in modern times—is set to expire in 2026. Between now and then, domestic and international negotiations will take place to develop the next management framework for the river system.

The climate for these negotiations could not be hotter—literally or figuratively. Climate change’s impacts on the Colorado River Basin’s hydrology are pronounced and unmistakable. The Basin is more than two decades into a “millennial drought” that commenced in 2000. The two main reservoirs on the Colorado River, Lake Mead and Lake Powell, have been drained to their lowest levels ever with no reprieve in sight.

This confluence of events presents a once-in-a-generation opportunity for individuals and groups representing diverse interests to consider the past, present, and future of the Colorado River system; to consider how the Law of the River, including the Compact, should be adapted in the face of hydrological and other changes; and to share perspectives on the process of developing the next management framework.

For further information, including how to register, please click here.