The Colorado River Compact signed in 1922 was the work of many hours of forward-thinking men representing the several states affected by the river. Even in the early 1920s they could see the impact of taming the wild, raging, flooding Colorado River.
Economic value in life sustaining food production, hydroelectric power generation, as well as unforeseen industries were the goals of the compact. The compact was the teeth needed to get federal help in controlling the river.
Hoover Dam was a dream, completed in 1931!
Many storage projects followed, with one of the last the Ridgeway Reservoir Dam in 1987. The purpose was to develop a consistent supply of water throughout the growing season, provide affordable electric power for homes and industry and to control flooding along the course of the river and its tributaries.
Recreational use such as fishing and boating were a byproduct of the construction of the storage system. It became a contributing factor to several local economies. The reservoirs were designed large enough to store water in heavy wet years and to share water in drought years. It has taken almost 100 years to see the latter take place.
Climate change does not mean climate stop.
There will be winters in the future, supplying water to the storage units along the Colorado River.
The rate of return to normal storage may be less than we expect, however allowing the system to work the way the early engineers designed it seems cruel to those in our home state, those men could and did see the future with clear eyes. Be patient, Blue Mesa and the entire system will recover.
Montrose County Historical Society