How Colorado River water is divided up between the states and Mexico is established on a piece of paper called The Colorado River Compact. Most people refer to it as “The Law of the River.”
The river is divided into two basins: upper and lower. The division is located at Lee’s Ferry, Arizona.
1) The upper basin gets 7.5 million acre feet (MAF)
2) The lower basin gets 7.5 MAF
3) Mexico gets 1.5 MAF.
The total promise on paper to these “users” is 16.5 MAF.
The average annual yield (based on a 106-year instrument record) for the Colorado River at Lee’s Ferry is 15.0 MAF.
In the last 50 years the yield has dropped to 14.5 MAF
Right now there is a 2.5 million MAF deficit between demand and supply.
In 2050 the annual yield will be 13.7 MAF.
So the water Utah has is based on an illusionary piece of paper.
Until the paper is changed to reflect reality, Utah has the right to develop water for tar sands and whatever else.
If a state took this matter to the Supreme Court, the court would say: “Look, you seven idiots. Obviously you don’t understand simple arithmetic very well. The order of the court is to lower your demand immediately. Now get the [bleep] out of my courtroom. (It would actually take 10-years of discovery to get to a final ruling.)
The case will never get to the Supreme Court. The states are not foolish. Well, yes they are, but you know what I mean.
So revising the piece of paper will not happen anytime soon. Congress could make that happen, but a national crisis would have to happen first to justify whatever action they might take.
Thus Utah has lot’s of water, even though it is illusionary water.
Remember, the United States of America is not a country, it’s a business.