News release: Reclamation publishes overview of Colorado River evaporation history
The Bureau of Reclamation today published an overview of historical natural losses along the lower Colorado River. The Mainstream Evaporation and Riparian Evapotranspiration report looks at water surface evaporation, soil moisture evaporation, and plant transpiration. It will be used by Reclamation as a source of data as it manages regional water operations and to improve the agency’s modeling efforts. … The report provides an overview of average mainstream losses from both river and reservoir evaporation, as well as the evaporation and transpiration associated with vegetation and habitats along the river. The report states that approximately 1.3-million-acre feet of losses occur annually along the lower Colorado River mainstream. Based on data from 2017 to 2021, approximately 860,000 acre-feet of Colorado River water is lost to evaporation occurring annually from Lake Mead to the border with Mexico. A further 445,000 acre-feet is lost to evaporation and transpiration from natural vegetation and habitats.
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