The Colorado River
The Colorado River is a primary water resource for seven states, and Mexico. It provides water for 38 million people and runs for 1,450 miles, traveling from the Rocky Mountains through parts of the southwest before heading south to Mexico where it ends in the Gulf of California. For years people have relied upon the waters of the Colorado River for agriculture and life. Increased population growth and demands in recent years have threatened the river. Unexpected draughts have reduced the volume of annual water flow and stream flow miscalculations resulted in more water being allocated for use than actually flows through the river. A study by the Scripps Research Institute in 2008 predicted that both Lake Mead and Lake Powell stand a fifty-fifty chance of dropping to useless levels by the year 2021 if current drying trends and water usage rates continue. This would be terrible for the people and creatures that rely on this mighty river to live. Dams, diversions and evaporation losses from reservoirs also contribute to the lessening of water available from the river, causing ecological consequences to wildlife living in and along the river. The Colorado River used to carry up to 85 to 100 million tons of silt or sediment to the Gulf of California where it deposited into the sea. The sediment helped things along the river path grow and flourish. Over the years, the silt has been collecting in Lake Mead, the nation’s largest reservoir, and it is predicted that over the next few hundred years this lake will fill up with silt. This could threaten the entire Colorado River reservoir system. Just in the past 10 years, Lake Mead’s water levels have dropped by more than 100 feet and the basin is only half full. Something needs to be done to stop the trends and even reverse the damage done to the Colorado River system.
Some of the recommended solutions to supplement the water flow and reduce demands on the waters of the...