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Colorado River Water Shortage Predicted for Western States

Demand will outstrip supply as the region's population grows, according to a federal study.

The Colorado River won’t be able to support the growing population of California and other Western states, according to 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 fall short of demand by an estimated 3.2 million acre-feet by 2060.

The shortfall is enough to support roughly 3 million households.

The study—which examined how Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming would 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 officials need to plan and collaborate to prepare.

“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 includes more than 150 proposals to solve the supply and demand imbalances. Ideas include increasing water supply through reuse or desalinization, and reducing demand through increased conservation.

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, 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.

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

Mike F December 13, 2012 at 05:41 PM
Good abstract. Thank you Hoa Quach.
Charles December 13, 2012 at 06:49 PM
Saw my neighbors' sprinklers on this morning during the rainstorm.
Rob December 13, 2012 at 07:09 PM
How about bringing more of the water via aquaduct from the vast snowpack in the far northern california, oregon and washington regions that otherwise drains to the ocean? Problem solved and think of all the 'shovel ready' jobs that would be created! Estimates show that far more than what is needed goes unused.
Alberto Barrera December 13, 2012 at 11:20 PM
The North should try rain collection and atmospheric water capture, they've got plenty of rain and humidity.
Lil-Marty December 14, 2012 at 12:10 AM
It says by 2060!!! Why are we even worrying about it now? Don't you clowns know the world is ending next week? Lil Marty Leisure World
arttie short December 14, 2012 at 04:06 PM
they just dont get it marty!!!! ...i have my extra small fire suit ordered....so i can last a few extra minutes next week!! .....
JENIFER MASSEY December 14, 2012 at 08:41 PM
GOOD BYE GOLF COURSES !
James December 26, 2012 at 03:43 PM
get the farms to stop flooding their lands after harvest just to claim future water shares. get rid of mandatory lawns in arid environments. and teach people conservation...not thinking of ways to use more water. the Colorado doesn't even flow into the ocean now...Mexico has been trying to sue us for years for this. lack of water is why i left the southwest.
James December 26, 2012 at 03:43 PM
and get rid of the golf courses

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