Colorado River Water Shortage for Western States Foreseen in U.S. Study

The three-year study was conducted by the Bureau of Reclamation and released Wednesday.

The Colorado River won’t be able to support the growing population of Western states including California, says a federal study released Wednesday.

The study—conducted by the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation over the course of three years—says the river will be an estimated 3.2 million acre-feet short of meeting demand by 2060.

The shortage amount would support roughly 3 million households.

The study—which examines how Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming will be affected—projects that 76.5 million people will rely on the Colorado River Basin by 2060.

Currently, 40 million people benefit from the river.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said stakeholders will need to plan and collaborate to prepare for the change.

“There’s no silver bullet to solve the imbalance between the demand for water and the supply in the Colorado River Basin over the next 50 years—rather, it’s going to take diligent planning and collaboration from all stakeholders to identify and move forward with practical solutions,” he said in a statement.

“Water is the lifeblood of our communities, and this study provides a solid platform to explore actions we can take toward a sustainable water future. While not all of the proposals included in the study are feasible, they underscore the broad interest in finding a comprehensive set of solutions.”

The study—authorized by Congress and jointly funded by the seven basin states—includes more than 150 proposals to solve the supply and demand imbalances. Proposals include increasing water supply through reuse or desalinization methods, and reducing demand through increased conservation and efficiency efforts.

The Colorado River Basin is described as one of the “most critical” sources of water in the western United States.

The river supplies water to irrigate nearly 4 million acres of land, and is also the lifeblood for at least 22 Native American tribes, seven national wildlife refuges, four national recreation areas and 11 national parks, according to the study.

Grace Napolitano (D-Calif.), Monrovia's newly elected Congressional representative for the 32nd District, released a statement on the study:

“It is clear that we face many challenges ahead when it comes to meeting our future water demands. This study starts the conversation for how we can solve these challenges. We must work together to develop a water path forward, a path that must include water recycling and efficiencies as a solution.”

The full report is available at Usbr.gov/lc/region/programs/crbstudy.html.

Gem City Dude Man December 15, 2012 at 04:40 PM
We need to thank our politicians and their construction special interest supporters who sold our Golden State out for the quick money to pad their pockets with easy money while we citizens were left with their mess! Those of us native Californians can remember how developers were allowed to build without much oversight and covered every parcel of open space. I remember the debate decades ago that fell on deaf ears regarding these very issues we face today. Thanks to the radical conservative right as our citizens are still without a plan to improve our poorly planed and decaying infrastructure.
Teri Lynn Cronin December 15, 2012 at 05:27 PM
How about we stop watering our lawns and grow food instead?
archie's bunker December 15, 2012 at 09:42 PM
Irrigation reform for the central valley (70% of our water usage in Cal.) could save up to 80% of what is currently used. (innovations to drip method etc.). Lawns etc. account for a very small %, but I too agree that we should plant 'drought tolerant' plants, and/or grow food (for many reasons, as well as water conservation).
Kenneth Lowndes December 15, 2012 at 11:02 PM
Last time I checked, there is this "little itty bitty pond" also known as the Pacific Ocean, with plenty of water STILL in it. And, mass desalinzation technogy continues to be well known. ~>See a pattern here? We live in a desert climate year round. and no matter how much rain we get, within a few weeks after the last drop falls we begin hearing again about how the "drought" is stil "on." How the rain made no difference. How we need to pay still MORE for our water, ad nauseum. We are being scammed, ladies and gentlemen. SCAMMED, BIG TIME!. PAY UP SHEEOPLE!
Kenneth Lowndes December 15, 2012 at 11:08 PM
Ever been around at night, with water sprinklers on Municipal property, some broken, with water spilling all over into streets? Yet they wish for YOU and ME to "conserve water' - or else! Meanwhile, millions of gallons of prefectly good water continues to FLOW onto the streets AND get ready, be ready to PAY MORE. Heck, even in the middle of drenching rains, those blasted sprinklers STILL come on! But they want you and me to "conserve." How so?


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