This report cannot possibly cover all the issues of concern in the Colorado River basin. The basin is vast and diverse geographically, ethnically, and politically. Conflicts over water are part of its history, as water has been the defining resource in the settlement and development of the Colorado River basin. A complex set of laws, a treaty, court decrees, contracts, agreements, regulations and traditions of use have evolved over this past century which have governed water policy and management decisions. Over the last few decades, new social values have emerged in the basin and across the country which reflect an appreciation of the important functions of river systems along with a desire to preserve this natural heritage for succeeding generations. In addition, the residents of the basin states, and those who visit, take advantage of the natural beauty of the Colorado River basin to recreate in increasing numbers, rafting, hiking, fishing, and boating on or near the lakes, rivers and streams that make up the watersheds of the basin. Today, recreation and tourism are major elements of the economy of every basin state.
At the outset of this report, it is stated that there should be goals and objectives against which water policy and management decisions should be measured. Whether efficiency, equity, and sustainability accurately reflect the basin's current goals is problematic; what is important is that a vision be developed that does reflect the basin's values and objectives for the next century. This report suggests some recommendations that might be starting points.
Pontius, Dale, "Colorado River Basin Study. Report to the Western Water Policy Review Advisory Committee" (1997). Federal Documents. 3.