Here’s a release from Western Resource Advocates (Jason Bane):
The Colorado River is the most endangered river in the United States, according to the 2013 list of America’s Most Endangered Rivers® released today by the nonprofit group American Rivers. Western Resource Advocates, a conservation organization that works throughout the entire Colorado River Basin, issued the following comments in response to the new listing:
“We all have our own dreams and visions for the future of the West,” said Bart Miller, Water Program Director at Western Resource Advocates. “But this is one subject where there can be no disagreement: If we don’t protect the Colorado River, we don’t have a future. It’s really that simple – an endangered Colorado River is a danger to us all.”
The Colorado River provides drinking water for more than 36 million people in seven states. The river is also critical to our regional and national food supply, providing irrigation for 4 million acres of farmland.
“We are using water in the West at a rate that is simply unsustainable,” said Drew Beckwith, Water Policy Manager at Western Resource Advocates. “The good news is that we can solve this problem if we act quickly. If we implement aggressive conservation, reuse, and efficiency programs for both municipal and agricultural users, we can protect the Colorado River and its many species, while at the same time exceeding projected water demand through 2060.”
The population in the West is expected to rise by 50% in the next 50 years; at the same time, Colorado River flows are projected to decline by 10% or more. Not only would this decline impact food and water availability, but it would be a huge blow to a growing recreation economy responsible for more than $26 billion in annual revenue for the Colorado River Basin states.
Western Resource Advocates has long advocated that water conservation and reuse should be the backbone of any plan for meeting future water demands in the Colorado River Basin. This is particularly critical in the face of climate change scenarios that experts agree will lead to increased frequency and severity of drought.