2019 GWC Summer Conference

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Date(s) - 06/06/2019 - 06/07/2019
8:00 am - 5:00 pm

Wolf Law



June 6th and 7th, 2019

Wolf Law Building, Wittemyer Courtroom

On June 6-7, 1869, John Wesley Powell’s expedition down the Colorado was prepping for passage through the Canyon of Lodore, an ardous journey that ultimately cost the expedition a ship and a third of the expedition’s provisions. Please join us exactly 150 years later to gear up for a journey through Colorado River rapids of a different kind: How best to navigate through the upcoming renegotiation of the 2007 Interim Guidelines (IG 2.0). The existing guidelines have been instrumental in slowing reservoir declines, delaying curtailments, and establishing a collaborative environment for subsequent innovations, but truly sustainable water management is still an unrealized goal. With the help of emerging drought contingency plan (DCP) programs, is the renegotiation the last best opportunity to craft a lasting solution to the river’s broken water budget? If so, what data, concepts, frameworks, and principles are key to success?

Conference Agenda

Registration (Campus Parking, CLE 15 General Credits available, and Lunch included with registration)

The conference will be organized into 5 major sessions:

Session 1: The Pre-Amble to IG 2.0

The Interim Guidelines introduced major changes in river management, and established an operational framework and collaborative environment supporting additional reforms, including recent DCPs (Drought Contingency Plans).  How does this background inform and influence the path forward to new rules?

Session 2: The Storm Before the Storm: DCPs, Looming Curtailments, and the 2019 to 2026 On-Ramp

Establishing new Guidelines to manage the river post 2026 is a formidable challenge that will be shaped largely by how well the DCPs can, or cannot, provide the time, regional cohesion, and perhaps, a partial roadmap, for moving forward. What DCP lessons should inform our thinking?

Session 3: Hydroclimatic Variability: Getting the Assumptions Right

Whatever the format of IG 2.0, how well it works will have a lot to do with what future hydrologic conditions look like. Historically in this basin, we’ve gotten into trouble basing management on poor hydrologic assumptions. How can we avoid repeating that mistake?

Session 4: New Tools, New Numbers, New Bargains: The Search for Lasting Solutions

The IG 2.0 could take a variety of forms, from merely tweaking the numbers (e.g., elevation tiers, shortage levels, etc.) in the existing reservoir operations framework to more fundamental (and controversial) changes in how water (and risk) is allocated and managed. What ideas have merit?

Session 5: My Vision for Sustainable Colorado River Management

In this concluding panel, participants will be charged with: (1) reacting to ideas/thoughts presented in Session 4 (and elsewhere); (2) identifying issues and questions that require and/or merit additional study; and (3) if they choose, accept the offer to play “king/queen for a day” by listing actions they would take if they had complete decision-making power. Audience participation will be encouraged.

Conference Agenda


Conference Pricing:                                                                                                                General     $425                                                                                                                Government     $325                                                                                                Nonprofit/Non CU Academic     $225                                                                    University of Colorado Faculty/Staff/Student     Free


For additional information, or to make suggestions, please contact the conference organizer: Doug Kenney, University of Colorado (douglas.kenney@colorado.edu; 303-492-1296).