The Colorado River Basin

The Colorado River and its man-made reservoirs from
the Rockies to southern Arizona are being sapped by
14 years of drought nearly unrivaled in 1,250 years.

The Colorado River flows 1400 miles from the mountains
of central Colorado to the Mexican border and eventually
to the Gulf of California.

 

Colorado River Basin Map

               

                 Sources of Precipitation

 

 

 

 

During the past 50 years this once free flowing river
has been tamed by a gigantic plumbing system

Today, this domesticated river is enjoyed by
15 million people a year.

 

 

        

            The period 1905-1922, which was used to estimate water
            production allocated under the Colorado River Compact,
            had the highest long-term annual flow volume in the 20th
            century, averaging 16.1 MAF at Lee’s Ferry.

 

 

Three major problems are associated with use of this
river's water:

 

                         

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                        

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Raise the River: Reconnect the Colorado

Raise the River vs. Move the Ocean. Full Story.

 

 

 

 

Glen Canyon Dam

Glen Canyon Dam was completed in 1966 to provide hydroelectricity and flow regulation.

Its reservoir is called Lake Powell and is the second largest artificial lake in the US.

Glen Canyon Dam Map

Glen Canyon Dam

Lake Powell, Glen Canyon Dam

 

 

Lake Powell

"Bathtub Ring" white mineral deposits

Lake Powell Drought Conditions animation

 

 

 

 

Las Vegas

Fastest growing city in US the past 40 years.

Cities such as Las Vegas are running out of water and are looking for new sources to allow growth.

90% of Las Vegas' water comes from the Colorado River via Lake Mead.

Las Vegas has been the fastest growing metropolitan area in the US the past 30 years.

Las Vegas water czar Pat Mulroy stated in an interview on 4/11/11,

"The point I was making today is that we
have run out of options. We have run out
of time to wring our hands about it and try
to delay it. If we do that we are putting our
own families and our own security in jeopardy."

Some are advocating drawing groundwater from rural Nevada.

The Southern Nevada Water Authority proposes to build a 285 mile pipeline to haul groundwater from eastern Nevada.

The $2 billion project would mean sinking up to 195 wells as deep as 1700 feet to bring as much as 50 billion gallons of water a year to Las Vegas.

Scientists predict pumping rates will greatly exceed recharge rates.

Pat Mulroy is also promoting recycling treated wastewater back into the Colorado River to be reused.

Las Vegas Urban Growth (Google Images 1, 2, 3) (growth video)