Colorado River Commissioner's Corner
In addition to leading the Colorado Water Conservation Board, Rebecca Mitchell was appointed by Governor Polis to represent Colorado in the Upper Colorado River Commission (UCRC). The UCRC includes one Commissioner from each of the Upper Colorado River Basin states (Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming) who work together on interstate collaboration for the Colorado River, which flows 1,450 miles across the Western U.S. and into Mexico.
The UCRC was established in 1948 with the goal of facilitating discussion, collaboration, and decision-making among the Upper Division States.
In her role as Commissioner, Mitchell works with a team of Colorado’s water experts to develop positions of the state of Colorado in negotiations with other states. Commissioner Mitchell works with all Coloradans - from the Front Range to the West Slope - and uses this input to inform Colorado’s positions and strategies. As compounded drought continues in Colorado and across the West, Commissioner Mitchell and the UCRC are exploring solutions to protect our state and its water users as we face drier conditions.
Colorado River Operations Negotiations
The UCRC is preparing for negotiations regarding post-2026 operations of the system’s major reservoirs. The negotiated agreements will replace the current “Interim Guidelines for Lower Basin Shortages and Coordinated Operations for Lake Powell and Lake Mead,” also known as the “2007 Guidelines.”
Commissioner Mitchell's guiding principles - or goals - as she negotiates on behalf of Colorado include:
- Ensuring additional water supply, security, and certainty.
- Avoiding litigation.
- Avoiding risk of curtailment in the Upper Basin.
- Improving operations of Lake Powell and Lake Mead.
- Addressing overuse in the Lower Basin.
- Supporting coordination with Mexico.
- Maintaining compliance with established federal environmental law.
As discussions among the Basin States develop, an updated timeline will be added to this webpage. For a history of laws and agreements, visit the Colorado River 101 page.
Upcoming Speaking Events with Commissioner Mitchell
- Colorado Mesa University's Upper Colorado River Basin Water Forum: November 3 - 4, 2021
Colorado Sun op-ed on Colorado River drought planning (Oct 19, 2021)
Denver Post op-ed on drought & water speculation (Jan 2021)