For decades the Colorado River has been tapped for its water supply….and now that resource is running out thanks to the 20 year drought in the American West.
After 22 straight years of drought, the Colorado River’s flow is in increasingly bad shape—and two of the seven states that rely on its water are going to have to make more cuts. Last year, a Tier 1 shortage was declared on the river for the first time, causing mandatory cuts to the use of its water in Arizona, Nevada, and Mexico under a plan the seven states and Mexico signed in 2019, CNN reports. But with the water shortage getting worse, the Department of the Interior announced Tuesday that a Tier 2 shortage will be declared starting in 2023, causing more cuts for Arizona, Nevada, and Mexico. Arizona will lose more than a fifth of its yearly allotment.
The cuts are based on water levels at Lake Mead, which are now at historic lows and are expected to fall even further next year, the AP reports. The lake, America’s largest reservoir, is currently just a quarter full, and experts warn that it is getting dangerously close to the level where the Hoover Dam can no longer generate power. Bureau of Reclamation chief Camille Touton warned in June that states need to come up with a plan to cut water usage by next year. But negotiations between states are not going well, and the federal government might have to step in, reports CNN. The states missed the bureau’s August 15 deadline for announcing proposals to cut water use.
Authorities say any cuts made are likely to be in place for a long time as the West becomes hotter and drier. “In order to avoid a catastrophic collapse of the Colorado River System and a future of uncertainty and conflict, water use in the Basin must be reduced,” said Tanya Trujillo, the Interior Department’s assistant secretary for water and science, per the Los Angeles Times. Water managers say a long-term plan is needed, but their main priority is coming up with a plan to get through the next three years without the system falling apart.
The Colorado is so bad it can be seen from space……
The full scale of the drought, however, can only be seen from space. NASA satellites have been monitoring waterways in the West for years and documenting how the region is drying up. It’s part of a trend lasting almost two decades, making it the worst drought in 1,200 years. Part of the severity of this “megadrought” has been worsened by climate change.
Now there is a proposal to help the struggling Colorado River by sucking water out of the Mississippi River……
Two hundred miles north of New Orleans, in the heart of swampy Cajun Country, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1963 cut a rogue arm of the Mississippi River in half with giant levees to keep the main river intact and flowing to the Gulf of Mexico.
The Old River Control Structure, as it was dubbed, is also the linchpin of massive but delicate locks and pulsed flows that feed the largest bottomland hardwood forests and wetlands in the United States, outstripping Florida’s better known Okefenokee Swamp.
Clouds of birds – hundreds of species – live in or travel through Louisiana’s rich Atchafalaya forests each year, said National Audubon Society Delta Conservation Director Erik Johnson. They include gawky pink roseate spoonbills, tiny bright yellow warblers, known as swamp candles because of their bright glow in the humid, green woods, and more.
This summer, as seven states and Mexico push to meet a Tuesday deadline to agree on plans to shore up the Colorado River and its shriveling reservoirs, retired engineer Don Siefkes of San Leandro, California, wrote a letter to The Desert Sun of the USA TODAY Network with what he said was a solution to the West’s water woes: Build an aqueduct from the Old River Control Structure to Lake Powell, 1,489 miles west, to refill the Colorado River system with Mississippi River water.
These people are killing the mighty Colorado and now that it is dying they want to impose their need on a major watery artery to the middle of the country.
I have a problem with this plan.
I Read, I Write, You Know
“lego ergo scribo”