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The Colorado River Basin has been experiencing persistently dry hydrology for over two decades, with policymakers across the basin proactively seeking ways to stretch existing water supplies to meet demands. This presentation shares an Upper Basin perspective on water conservation efforts in the region with a particular focus on the tradeoffs associated with implementing Demand Management, a program that would support the voluntary, compensated, and temporary reduction of consumptive water uses in the Upper Basin and help assure the Upper Basin’s continued compliance with the 1922 Colorado River Compact. In evaluating tradeoffs, policymakers, water users, and other stakeholders in the Upper Basin must consider the economic and social impacts to local and state communities resulting from water conservation. Results of several economic analyses already undertaken in the Upper Basin will be discussed, with an eye towards understanding some of the institutional, geographic, and human considerations that drive differences in responses across states to the idea of Demand Management. The presenter also describes current research efforts to expand available scientific information, and the role this information can play in assisting policymakers, water users, and other stakeholders in the Upper Basin make informed decisions to resolve the crisis.



Dr. Kristiana Hansen is an Associate Professor and Extension Water Resource Economist in the Department of Agricultural & Applied Economics at the University of Wyoming. Dr. Hansen’s current research is in water resource economics and in community adaptation and response to changes in weather and climate variability. Her extension programs seek to inform and improve regional decision-making in water allocation. Several current research/extension projects focus on informing Colorado River Basin water management challenges, through analysis of economic impacts, conservation program design, and collaborative decision-making. Dr. Hansen contributes to synergistic conversations on western U.S. water management and climate adaptation through her involvement in the Colorado River Research Group, WY-ACT (Wyoming EPSCoR project on water and climate adaptation), the Western Water Network, and Western Water Assessment (Intermountain West NOAA RISA). Dr. Hansen completed a Ph.D. in Agricultural and Resource Economics from the University of California, Davis.


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