Letter: Column mischaracterized demand management
Environmental Defense Fund is one of the world’s largest conservation organizations. Our mission is to preserve the natural systems on which all life depends. In the Colorado River Basin, our work is dedicated to helping make the Colorado River system more resilient to pressures like population growth and climate change, so it can serve the needs of people and wildlife for generations to come. In Colorado, that means working with a wide range of partners to expand flexibility in water management, encourage innovation in water management and use, and establish strong criteria and sufficient funding for water projects that support the health of communities, ecosystems and agriculture.
A recent opinion piece by Dave Marston of Writers on the Range mischaracterized “demand management,” which is not about turning water into a commodity. It’s about conserving Colorado River water in partnership with agriculture to ensure there is enough water for people and wildlife in the future and making sure water systems are resilient to climate change. It would also help prevent more buy-and-dry transactions. Demand Management is one possible tool, among many, to help the basin adapt and thrive, but it must be done right, and that’s why we’re supporting demonstration projects with agricultural and tribal partners.
We are grateful for the Walton Family Foundation’s support of our work in the Colorado River Basin. But they are just one of EDF’s many funders and partners, and neither they nor our other partners tell us what to do or how to do it. Tackling the challenges facing the Colorado River requires multiple solutions and collaboration from diverse interests, including tribes, cities and counties, farmers, business, conservation groups, the federal government and more. EDF is committed to playing our part to help advance those solutions and ensure more sustainable and collaborative water management in the West.
Senior Director, Colorado River Program
Environmental Defense Fund