River Report Examines Climate Change Impact on Colorado River Basin
Drought and climate change are having a noticeable impact on the Colorado River Basin, and that is posing potential challenges to those in the Southwestern United States and Mexico who rely on the river.
In the just-released Winter 2017-18 edition of River Report, writer Gary Pitzer examines what scientists project will be the impact of climate change on the Colorado River Basin, and how water managers are preparing for a future of increasing scarcity.
Already, climate change is showing its effects. Snowpack in the Basin is smaller and it’s melting earlier, diminishing the river system’s natural reservoir. Water managers have been vexed for years by persistent drought along the Colorado. In 2016, water in Lake Mead fell to levels not seen since 1937, when the reservoir behind Hoover Dam was first filling.
Complicating solutions is the long-established framework for dividing the river’s waters and deciding who is first in line when there’s too little to go around. The uncertainty surrounding both the supply and increasing demand is pressing water managers to find ways to cooperate, collaborate and adapt.
River Report, the Water Education Foundation’s biannual Colorado River newsletter, is a free resource for the public.
Read “A Warmer Future and Increased Risk” here.