Where is the Colorado River going?

The NAU Review | Heidi Toth, NAU Communications

…The Colorado River loses 19.3 million acre feet of water per year to cities, farms and evaporation—roughly the amount of water used by the 50 largest U.S. cities each year. This loss now exceeds water added to the river by the water cycle, resulting in a shortage of water, which triggered a formal declaration of a Tier 1 water shortage beginning in 2021—along with cuts in water deliveries, especially to farmers in the state of Arizona. 

Stabilizing this icon of the American West is possible, according to a study published today in Nature Communications Earth & Environment, but it will require significant reductions in water use, especially from the irrigated agriculture industry. This new accounting of water use in the Colorado River Basin shows that almost half of water consumed in this region in the last two decades goes to cattle-feed crops such as alfalfa and grass hay. 

The findings provide an authoritative update to results from a widely publicized 2020 study published in Nature Sustainability. This new publication, led by Brian Richter of Sustainable Waters, includes three researchers at Northern Arizona University with the FEWSION Project: postdoctoral scholar Laljeet Singh Sangha, assistant research professor Richard Rushforth and professor Benjamin Ruddell in the School of Informatics, Computing, and Cyber Systems (SICCS)….

Read the full article here.

Posted in Current News, FEWSION in the Media.