Q&A: A look at the #ColoradoRiver and its role in the West — AP

From the Associated Press (Eliot Spagat):

Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, the nation’s largest drinking water distributor, bought nearly 13,000 acres of remote farms in July for $256 million, rattling farmers but giving it prized rights to the Colorado River.

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WHY IS THE COLORADO RIVER SO IMPORTANT?

The river, which travels 1,400 miles from Colorado to northern Mexico, is the main source of water for an extremely dry region. In 1922, Upper Basin states of Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming agreed to split deliveries with Lower Basin states of Arizona, California and Nevada. A 1944 treaty gave a fixed amount of water to Mexico.

The Colorado’s reservoirs — including the nation’s largest, Lake Mead, at Hoover Dam — can store 60 million acre feet of water, allowing wet years to position the region for drought.

Colorado River Basin, USBR May 2015
Colorado River Basin, USBR May 2015

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