The Colorado River provides water to 1-in-8 Americans and irrigates 15 percent of the country’s agricultural products. After years of drought and mismanagement, state and federal water managers are meeting with cities, native nations and farms to discuss cutbacks to water allocations. The consequences could be severe.
Ninety percent of US-grown winter vegetables are irrigated with Colorado River water and hydropower generated by the river in Lake Mead is a significant source of electricity to the region. But, after decades of warming, the region has had to face hard facts – there’s not enough water to meet everyone’s needs.
If a shortage is declared, Southwestern farmers will could be forced to stop irrigating sections of their land. If the lake levels fall below the dead pool level, the turbines will stop turning and the region could experience electricity shortages.
Stay tuned for details of the conference happening now to discuss the future of the river.