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Is the Colorado River Damned?


Environment  (tags: animals, climate-change, CO2emissions, conservation, destruction, ecosystems, endangered, energy, environment, globalwarming, greenhousegases, habitatdestruction, healthconditions, politics, pollution, protection, research, Rivers, science, Sustainabililt )

Kit
- 496 days ago - livescience.com
More than 35 million people throughout the southwestern United States and northern Mexico depend on the Colorado River's water. In 30 years, that total number is likely to double.



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Kit B. (276)
Tuesday April 23, 2013, 8:36 am
Photo Credit: CREDIT: NASA Earth Observatory


More than 35 million people throughout the southwestern United States and northern Mexico depend on the Colorado River's water. In 30 years, that total number is likely to double.

That's why so many call the Colorado the "lifeblood of the West."


Colorado River from space
[Pin It] The Colorado River from space on March 12, 2013.
CREDIT: NASA Earth Observatory
View full size image

Gary Wockner is director of the Save The Colorado River Campaign, which provides funding for community river preservation organizations throughout the Colorado River basin. Wockner contributed this article to LiveScience's Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights.

More than 35 million people throughout the southwestern United States and northern Mexico depend on the Colorado River's water. In 30 years, that total number is likely to double.

That's why so many call the Colorado the "lifeblood of the West."

But yesterday (April 17), American Rivers declared the Colorado River America's Most Endangered River, and climate change is a big part of the picture.

The warming, drying climate of the Southwest is hitting the river hard. We now know that drought is likely to be the new normal in the Colorado River basin scientists tell us that climate change could reduce the amount of water in the Colorado River ecosystem by 9 to 20 percent. Predictions of climate change and water usage draining the famed Lake Mead and Lake Powell dry are a small, but real, part of that picture.

This year is proving no exception. Scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) now say that the April through July inflow into Lake Powell, the largest reservoir in the Upper Colorado Basin, will be a mere 2.7 million acre-feet the lowest amount since NOAA began issuing forecasts in 1979. Combined inflows from this year and last year's runoff seasons are likely to be the driest since Lake Powell began filling in behind the Glen Canyon Dam in September 1969.

Around the state of Colorado, communities are preparing for another year of epic drought. On May 1, 2013, Denver Water (which uses a lot of Colorado River water) and Colorado Parks and Wildlife will close Antero Reservoir in Park County, Colo., and drain the reservoir to save water. In Fort Collins, the Cache la Poudre River is running at historic lows and is still clogged with ash, soot and debris swept down from last year's historic forest fires. Fort Collins is now relying almost solely on the Colorado River for drinking water supplies.

Against that dire backdrop, cities and states throughout the Colorado basin unfortunately continue to bark up the wrong tree proposing dam, reservoir, pipeline and energy projects that would drain the last drops of the free-flowing Colorado River and its tributaries, instead of aggressively focusing on water conservation, efficiency and a rapid shift away from dirty energy projects.

Today, demand on the river's water exceeds supply, leaving the river so over-tapped that it no longer flows to the sea. A century of water management policies and practices that have promoted wasteful water use have put the river at a critical crossroads.

The good news is that the federal government has stepped up its efforts to address this endangered river, with a comprehensive study completed by the Department of the Interior in 2012. Now it's time for Congress to follow up with robust funding for water conservation programs throughout the basin, and especially for investments to increase the efficiency of water projects that are already built, as well as restoration funds for the river's critical habitats.

There is enough water in the river to sustain both human and natural communities, but only if it's used wisely. Gone are the days when we can build another dam or pipeline on the Colorado River and worry about its impacts later. Today, there just isn't any more water left the river is endangered.
***

By: Gary Wockner | Op Ed | Live Science |

Gary Wockner is director of the Save The Colorado River Campaign, which provides funding for community river preservation organizations throughout the Colorado River basin. Wockner contributed this article to LiveScience's Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights.
 

mag.w.d. Aichberger (34)
Tuesday April 23, 2013, 9:13 am
(most of what we call 'forests' here in WU, woud be named "stands of trees in US" (i was told); but)
what's left the Colorado "river" (i've been there) would be called a creek in EU

> 35 million .. .. likely to double
could also be reduced to a more sane number, like 3 M, 300 k, or 0

CA uses+wastes about as much electricity as all of Africa combined.

This, too, will change.
 

Bryna Pizzo (139)
Tuesday April 23, 2013, 11:55 am
Thank you for the sad news. (N, P, T)
 

Jennifer C. (172)
Tuesday April 23, 2013, 5:11 pm
Thanks.
 

lee e. (114)
Tuesday April 23, 2013, 5:32 pm
sadly noted - thanks
 

Theodore Shayne (56)
Tuesday April 23, 2013, 5:48 pm
The worst thing they ever did was to build the Hoover.
 

Kit B. (276)
Tuesday April 23, 2013, 6:01 pm

The hubris of man and his desire to tame a river. Now that river is all but dead, most certainly highly endangered.
 

Betsy Bee (1050)
Tuesday April 23, 2013, 7:48 pm
Indeed, the hubris of man. Also, there is less snow melting into the Colorado each year and we all know why.
 

Pogle S. (88)
Tuesday April 23, 2013, 11:24 pm
Forewarned is anxious!
 

magdika-cecilia Perez (131)
Tuesday April 23, 2013, 11:54 pm
with global warming and seas about to rise substantially ... this is shocking sad article!
 

Darren Woolsey (65)
Wednesday April 24, 2013, 4:58 am
Thanks for sharing this
 

John Gregoire (255)
Wednesday April 24, 2013, 5:07 am
As soon as man thought to change nature with dams the poor river has been damned!
 

Franco Di Palma (374)
Wednesday April 24, 2013, 5:26 am
Thank you for this article. Very informative.
 

Kerryn Ayton (11)
Wednesday April 24, 2013, 6:10 am
Noted. thank you for sharing Kit.
 

Sandi C. (242)
Wednesday April 24, 2013, 8:24 am
done
 

Robert S. (115)
Wednesday April 24, 2013, 8:49 am
It no longer makes it to the sea.

http://e360.yale.edu/feature/video_colorado_river_running_near_empty/2443/
 

Raul M. (0)
Wednesday April 24, 2013, 9:34 am
Water is life. Rivers bring life in many forms. River support life. It's of major priority to take care of them.
 

Patricia H. (468)
Wednesday April 24, 2013, 11:56 am
done
 

Many Feathers (134)
Wednesday April 24, 2013, 12:10 pm
just watched a news story about this thanks for update
 

Birgit W. (144)
Wednesday April 24, 2013, 1:05 pm
Thanks
 

Lois Jordan (55)
Wednesday April 24, 2013, 1:53 pm
Thanks, Kit. Seems like it was "good-news, bad-news" at the end....expecting ..."Congress to follow up with robust funding..." Considering that Congress is only in the business of cutting everything except Pentagon war funding or salaries or benefits for themselves. I can only hope that funding will pass simply as a fluke and the Colorado River will be somewhat protected...for awhile longer.
 

Christeen Anderson (477)
Wednesday April 24, 2013, 2:00 pm
Thanks for this very informative article.
 

Bruno Moreira (61)
Wednesday April 24, 2013, 3:25 pm
noted thanks
 

marie Taylor clarke (166)
Wednesday April 24, 2013, 3:53 pm
Noted thanks
 

James Doeppers (0)
Wednesday April 24, 2013, 5:48 pm
Thanks
 

Dave C. (214)
Saturday February 15, 2014, 8:14 am
here we are 10 months later and it is only more troublesome....see the new click t donate option
 
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