May 2023

Water, Water Everywhere, We Hope.

Seven states depend on the Colorado River for water.  Those states are California, Arizona, Utah, Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico and Wyoming.  The river has long been overallocated and the reservoirs have declined to their lowest levels since they were filled.  Twenty three years of drought have been worsened due to rising temperatures.  California is the state that uses the largest share of the Colorado River and will shoulder a large share of the reductions.  That amounts to up to 1.6 million acre-feet through 2026.  Federal officials state that much of the reduction will come by paying agricultural irrigation districts and other water users to conserve water and will use funding from the Inflation Reduction Act.  Conserved water will remain in Lake Mead which is now at 30% capacity. Lake Mead is the nation’s largest reservoir.

Storms this year left the Rocky Mountains blanketed with heavy snow.  Federal officials estimate that runoff into the river’s reservoirs this year will be 149% of average.  Due to the increase in water in the reservoirs, the states have come forward with a proposal for smaller reductions that water managers believe will be sufficient to prevent reservoirs from reaching low water levels even if dry conditions return during the next three years.

I am so old that I can remember when other people’s achievements were considered to be an inspiration rather than a grievance.                            Thomas Sowell

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