Global Business & Development Law Journal Applying Economic-Engineering Systems Analysis to the Colorado River Delta Applying Economic-Engineering Systems Analysis to the Colorado River Delta*

Josue Medellin-Azuara, Jay Lund, Josus Medellin-Azuara, Jay Lund
2006 unpublished
Recent decades have seen increasing urban, agricultural, and environmental demands for water from the Lower Colorado River Delta ("CRD") in Mexico. At the same time, there has been increased interest in restoring this delta environment. Balancing these competing interests involves a complex variety of integrated environmental, economic, engineering, and legal issues. One approach to these complex problems is systems analysis, which attempts to quantify many of these factors and their
more » ... nd their interrelationships. The CALVIN (California Value Integrated Network) model is a systems analysis tool developed and successfully applied for strategic water management in California. The CALVIN model optimizes and integrates water operations and allocation based on costs and economic scarcity of water for urban and agricultural users. The CALVIN model provides promising insights for water management regarding water markets, facility expansion, dam removal, conjunctive use, economic costs of environmental restrictions, and users' economic willingness to pay for water. Mexico's Lower Colorado River Delta is suitable for analysis using CALVIN because inter-boundary water issues, water scarcity, economics, and restoration efforts are integral to water resources management in this region. If optimally configured, dedicated flows for restoration in the CRD could result in low opportunity costs for agricultural and urban users. The CALVIN model offers a novel approach to water resources management and restoration that takes into account hydrology, institutional constraints, management infrastructure , and the economic value of water in a region.