#Colorado’s #water leader thinks most of the needed #ColoradoRiver cuts should be made by #AZ, #NV and #CA — Colorado Public Radio #COrive #aridification

Colorado River “Beginnings”. Photo: Brent Gardner-Smith/Aspen Journalism

Click the link to read the article on the Colorado Public Radio website (Michael Elizabeth Sakas). Here’s an excerpt:

The mid-August deadline is quickly approaching for the states — Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, New Mexico, California, Nevada and Arizona — to figure out how to cut water usage down by 2 to 4 million acre-feet. For context, the entire state of Arizona is allowed to use 2.8 million acre-feet of river water each year.

Becky Mitchell, the commissioner of the Colorado Water Conservation Board, represents Colorado at the planning table with other states in the basin. Right now, her work is focused on collaborating with the other states in the upper part of the river basin — Utah, Wyoming and New Mexico — to come up with a list of ways their states can cut down on how much water they use. In a conversation on CPR’s Colorado Matters, Mitchell said most of that responsibility should be on the states in the lower part of the river basin: Arizona, Nevada and California.

“They’re using more than mother nature provides,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell said the states in the upper part of the river basin had been forced to use less water because of ongoing drought worsened by climate change. The states in the lower basin use water stored in Lake Powell and Lake Mead, the two largest reservoirs in the U.S., which she said has allowed those states to increase their water usage in the last few years. Mitchell said water stored in Lake Powell and Lake Mead allows the lower basin states to use more water than the river can provide, which has significantly dropped after decades of ongoing drought and the impacts of climate change.

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