Colorado River Water Shortage for Western States Foreseen in U.S. Study

The three-year study was conducted by the Bureau of Reclamation and released Wednesday.

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

The shortage amount would support roughly 3 million households.

The study—which examines how Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming will 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 stakeholders will need to plan and collaborate to prepare for the change.

“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—authorized by Congress and jointly funded by the seven basin states—includes more than 150 proposals to solve the supply and demand imbalances. Proposals include increasing water supply through reuse or desalinization methods, and reducing demand through increased conservation and efficiency efforts.

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 of land, 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

LetsBfair December 14, 2012 at 10:07 PM
This is a setup for Sustainable growth. Temecula is already watering with Reclaimed water (poo water). Orange County is now having poor people drink poo-water. The goal is to trick all people into believing that poo-water is good for you and protects the environment. We have water. We are simply sharing it with the World since we are too prosperous in America. Desalination is the way to go. America, don't give up your rights to clean water. Don't get tricked into "Sustainability". Sustainability = ICLEI (Local Governments for Sustainable Development). Is all a scam to get you to submit. http://iclei.org/
Ponce de Leon December 15, 2012 at 04:48 AM
@LetsBfair -- So what do you recommend? Should we all continue to use the same amount of water and not worry about it? Aren't there standards for treating water before people drink it? If people in Orange County are drinking Reclaimed water, wouldn't they be getting sick all the time?
Ed Sorrels December 15, 2012 at 05:30 AM
The Santee lakes project proved years (20 or so) ago that sewer outfall water could be reclaimed and treated to drinking water standards, Hell they even had a pool out there filled with reclaimed water. Problem the mindset of most people is that they don't want to drink reclaimed water, Or swim in it so they closed the pool. Folks it is inevitable that in the future we will be drinking a mix of imported,reclaimed and de-salinated water with some well water but noit much as our ground water is about depleted and with our miniscule rain supply we are not replenisshing it as fast as we are using it. And the sooner we get our heads around the idea the better it will be for us all ! Thew 10 plus years lag time that posidion has faced can't continue, we need to build the plants, and do it now !
Ed Sorrels December 16, 2012 at 10:50 PM
actually I think it was more like 40 years ago !
Doug Curlee December 17, 2012 at 12:14 AM
no, lets.. got nothing to do with that.. the water treatement plant in fountain valley puts out water so pure that minerals have to be added to give it enough specific gravity to travel through pipes.. it's then pumped into the orange county aquifer and blended with aquifer water..then from there into the regular water system..they use the same purification systrem that's planned for the carlsbad desalination plant.. there's NO connection with the ICLEI..except in the fevered brfains of you people who ought to wearing lead foil hats and looking for unmarked black helicopters carrying danish troops..or is it norwegian?..can't keep that quite straight.. doug


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