Sunday, December 30, 2012

Fears rise over Colorado River and Rio Grande water sources

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar delivered the results of a three-year water study affecting the U.S. Southwest and Far West during a conference from Las Vegas warning representatives from numerous local, state and federal agencies and civilian stakeholders that a “call to action” is required to prevent serious water shortages in the years ahead for city-dwellers, Native Americans, businesses, ranchers and farmers in at least seven states. "We are in a troubling trajectory in the Colorado River basin, as well as the Rio Grande basin," Salazar told reporters on a conference call following the meeting as he outlined the math in the findings of the Colorado River Basin Water Supply and Demand Study. Salazar reported the study found the population in the region could double in the years ahead while today's drought-stricken river basins are expected to recover only about 85 percent of historic flows. "There is no one solution that is going to meet the needs of this challenge," Salazar added. "We need to reduce our demand through conservation and we also need to augment supply with practical measures." According to the study, the Colorado River flow by 2060 could be 3.2 million to 8 million acre-feet short of meeting regional demand, a development that could be intensified by exaggerated population growth and urban development. While seven states, including Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming, lay claim to water rights from the Colorado River and its tributaries, Salazar says the problem is complicated by new water agreements with Mexico that give them certain water rights to the Lower Colorado River and also provide water storage capabilities on U.S. soil, specifically Lake Mead...more  

You can view the study here.

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