Facts About the Shrinking Colorado River

by admin on July 13, 2015

The 1,450 mile Colorado River is the Southwest’s only major river, providing drinking water for about 40 million people as well as irrigation for close to six million acres of farmland. However, below average snowfall and drought conditions are causing a significant decrease in its freshwater resources. We have gathered 13 interesting facts about the Colorado River’s shrinking levels.

Colorado River.The Colorado River Basin stretches across seven states: from Wyoming across Colorado, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada and California.
Source

The Colorado River Basin covers about 246,000 square miles.
Source

The Rocky Mountains snowpack that flows into the Colorado River is at half of normal levels again this year.
Source

Some global-warming studies conclude that rising temperatures will reduce the Colorado’s average flow after 2050 by five to 35 percent.
Source

Each year, 16.5 million acre-feet of Colorado River water is apportioned to the states of the Colorado Basin and Mexico.
Source

The Colorado River basin has lost 15.6 cubic miles of freshwater in the last 10 years.
Source

Since December 2004, the basin of the Colorado River lost nearly 53 million acre feet of freshwater (about 75% of the loss was groundwater).
Source

The Colorado River has been experiencing 14 years of drought which is nearly unrivaled in the past 1,250 years.
Source

Most years, every drop of water is pumped out of the Colorado River before it empties into the Gulf of California.
Source

2000 to 2014 was the lowest 15-year period since the closure of Glen Canyon Dam in 1963, with an average unregulated inflow of 8.39 million acre-feet, or 78% of the 30-year average (1981-2010).
Source

The Colorado River supplies hydropower plants that generate more than 10 billion kilowatt-hours annually.
Source

Lake Mead, the largest reservoir on the Colorado River, has dropped over 140 feet over the past 15 years.
Source

If Lake Mead continues to drop and fall below 1075 feet, water rationing would result in Southern Nevada losing 13,000 acre-feet per year and Arizona losing 320,000 acre-feet per year.
Source

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: