Colorado River Could Witness 50% Decline in Water Resource by year 2100: Research

Colorado River Could Witness 50% Decline in Water Resource by year 2100: Research

Colorado river is facing a rapid decline in its water sources and this could lead to 50 million acre-feet decline in its water level by year 2050. The research conducted by a team from Colorado State University and University of Arizona has predicted over 50 percent decline in water level by the end of this century. This decline in water would cause water scarcity in seven states in the American Southwest. The research team informed that it could impact nearly 41 million Americans.

The decline in water level of Colorado river will impact drinking water supply for millions of Americans and also troubles for six million acres of farmland. Many regions in the United States are suffering drought-like conditions as rainfall has declined. Scientists blame it on climate change and have predicted massive changes for many regions. California has faced drought for the last four years and the state government had to take drastic steps to deal with decline in water sources.

As per a research paper published by hydrology researchers Brad Udall of Colorado State University and Jonathan Overpeck of the University of Arizona, Colorado river has witnessed 19 percent decline in volime due to drought like conditions persisting since year 2000 in the region. The decline in rainfall is impacting farming communities in many states that draw water from Colorado river.

The research paper has been published in the journal Water Resources Research.

“We’re the first to make the case that warming alone could cause Colorado River flow declines of 30 percent by midcentury and over 50 percent by the end of the century if greenhouse gas emission continue unabated,” said Jonathan Overpeck.

"Fifteen years into the 21st century, the emerging reality is that climate change is already depleting the Colorado River water supplies at the upper end of the range suggested by previously published projections," the research paper informed. "Record-setting temperatures are an important and underappreciated component of the flow reductions now being observed."

A report published by New Yorker informed, “The river irrigates close to six million acres of farmland, much of which it also created, through eons of silt deposition. It power the hydroelectric plants at the Hoover and Glen Canyon dams, is the principal source for the country’s two biggest man-made reservoirs, and supports recreational activities that are said to worth twenty-six billion dollars a year.”

“Current planning understates the challenge that climate changes poses to the water supplies in the American Southwest,” said Udall. “My goal is to help water managers incorporate this information into their long-term planning efforts.”

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