Managers: #Drought could go 15 years — the Cortez Journal #ColoradoRiver

Douglas Fir tree rings via the Western Water Assessment
Douglas Fir tree rings via the Western Water Assessment

From the Cortez Journal (Jim Mimiaga):

Water managers at the Ag Expo explained water issues through the lens of a drought that’s lingered in the region since 2000.

In some ways, things have worked out as they should, said Eric Kuhn, of the Colorado River Conservation District.

“Our reservoirs have done what they are supposed to do by storing water for when we really need it,” he said. “The worry is how long the drought will continue.”

Trends show there will be less water in the future. Tree-ring data show that between 760 AD and 2005, wet periods and dry periods each last 30 years.

“We could be faced with another 15 years of drought based on that trend,” said water engineer Steve Harris.

Population adds to the stress. Currently, the Colorado River Basin serves 35 million people, and irrigates 5.5 million acres.

“The future shows it going to 80 million people and 4.6 million acres of farmland,” Kuhn said.

More Colorado River Basin coverage here.

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