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Bravery in the Face of Bureaucracy

The Negotiation and Completion of Minute 319

Jennifer Gimbel

Octubre 2019, inglés

Lincoln Institute of Land Policy

From 2001 to the present, the Colorado River (CR) system experienced the most severe drought in recorded history. As the water levels in the CR system declined, the U.S. federal government representing the seven Basin States and Mexico engaged in negotiation regarding the operations of the CR at the border. Formal agreements on those operations are codified in a “Minute.” After several setbacks, failed negotiations, and added political realities, Minute 319 was signed. The United States and the Basin States had Mexico’s agreement to share in shortages. Mexico had the United States’ agreement to share in a surplus and allowed storage in reservoirs above the border. The environmental community had the agreement of both nations to participate in environmental projects that would benefit the CR in Mexico by keeping more water in the river. Minute 319 also provided for a pulse flow experiment that released a significant amount of water from Lake Mead.

Recommended citation: Gimbel, Jennifer. 2019. “Bravery in the Face of Bureaucracy: The Negotiation and Completion of Minute 319.” Case study. Cambridge, MA: Lincoln Institute of Land Policy.