Colorado River Basin: Will the Mississippi River become a water source for the West?

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Here’s the second installment in their series “The fight for water” from the Deseret News (Amy Joi O’Donoghue). Click through and read the whole article. Here’s an excerpt:

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation is nearing the final stages of a study that for the first time in more than 40 years is charting projected supply and demand “imbalances” of Colorado River water — which was over-allocated some 90 years ago through a water-sharing agreement among Utah, six other Western states and Mexico. A draft of the study is slated to be released next month, with a final report scheduled for July.

An early analysis by the federal agency predicts that large-scale deficits of water in the river system — greater than 3.5 million acre-feet — are likely over the next 50 years. It translates into an inability to meet the needs of millions of households, businesses or agricultural operations unless solutions can be found to cut use or increase supply. The grim scenario is especially plausible given the volatile impacts of climate change, leading the agency for the first time to incorporate how weather changes will play out in specific impacts to the seven states that depend on the river. “This is a pretty careful scrub of how water demands will unfold over the next couple of decades,” said Dave Trueman, the bureau’s division chief over resource management…

In the Mississippi River scenario, 675,000 acre-feet of water would be diverted from the nation’s largest river downstream of where it meets up with the Ohio River. From there, the water would be conveyed via tunnel, canal and a monstrous pipe 775 miles long and 144 inches in diameter to dump into the Navajo River in southwestern Colorado. The Navajo would then deliver that water to the San Juan River, a tributary of the Colorado River, for use by agricultural users in Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico. Those users would then be taken off the Colorado system and the savings in water would flow downstream to other cities that need to grow in the future.

More Colorado River basin coverage here.

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