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The Law of the Colorado River: A Rigid Relic or a Flexible Foundation for the Future

by King, Warren Scott


The Colorado River Compact was signed in 1922 in an attempt to regulate and manage the Colorado River and its tributaries. Since its implementation a series of laws and court opinions have come together to make up a comprehensive set of guidelines that now govern the river system. Despite the litany of legislation surrounding the Colorado River, 21st century issues such as regional climate change, population growth, increasing salinity and sediment levels, and minority interest water rights issues continue to plague those reliant on Colorado River water. The fundamental question now facing those charged with the responsibility of governing the River is, “Is the Law of the River adequate for dealing with these 21st century issues?”. I contend that the Law of the River, including its keystone piece of legislation, the 1922 Colorado River Compact, is neither inherently rigid or flexible. Instead the Law of the River is as flexible or as rigid as the contracting parties allow it to be.


Includes bibliographical references

Administrative Notes
Colorado College
Digital Origin
born digital
71p. ill. map(s).
Senior Thesis -- Colorado College
Thesis Advisor
Hecox, Walt
Environmental Program
Degree Name
Bachelor of Arts
Degree Type
Bachelor of Arts
Degree Grantor
Colorado College
Date Issued