Runoff this year in the Colorado River peaked early and with marginal volumes after yet another lackluster winter of snow in many of its headwaters. A lot of years in the 21st century have been like that. Some think something else is going on.
A new study finds declines at more than 90 percent of snow monitoring sites with long records across the western United States. The study dramatically reinforces earlier findings that pose fundamental questions about the adequacy of the West’s existing water infrastructure, policies, and institutions in a warming world.
Not one thing explains the declining levels in Lake Mead, but one thing’s clear: another good snow year in the Rockies won’t solve the Colroado River problems.
It was a good snow year in the headwaters of the Colorado River. So why has the runoff been so-so?
Drought has been blamed for declining water levels in Lake Mead and other Colorado River reservoirs, but Brad Udall also points to increased evaporation and transpiration resulting from rising temperatures.
Declining reservoir levels in the Colorado River Basin have been blamed on drought since 2000, but water researcher Doug Kenney argues that it’s only third in the list of suspects, behind rising temperatures and growing populations.
irrigation at Colorado’s Carpenter Ranch along the Yampa River was suspended this year July 1, part of a pilot program in the Colorado River Basin intended to create greater flexibility in water in anticipation of drought.
Can’t technology save us from the hard edges of aridity in the American Southwest? In the case of cloud-seeding, the answer seems to be no, a well-funded and extensive experiment in Wyoming suggests.
With Lake Mead rapidly drawing to a time when it can no longer provide the water committed to California, Arizona and Nevada, Brad Udall examines the thinking of politicians and policymakers in authorizing the Central Arizona Project in 1968.