Science Editorial on Managing Colorado River Risk

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Researchers from the South Central and Southwest CASCs discuss climate impacts on the Colorado River and how these shifts will impact management decisions in an editorial published in Science. 

Image: Colorado River Runs Dry

The Colorado River runs dry on the U.S./Mexico border 2 miles below the Morelos Dam.

(Credit: Pete McBride, U.S. Geological Survey. Public domain.)

Read the original news story posted by the Southwest CASC, here

The Colorado River system is relied on to provide water to 40 million people in the United States and Mexico, and to irrigate millions of acres of agricultural lands. However, water flow through the river is down by 20%, and the nation's two largest reservoirs, which are a part of the system, are projected to be only 29% full by 2023 under a warming climate. To address the management challenges of this widely used but diminishing water supply, Southwest CASC investigator Brad Udall and South Central CASC investigator John Fleck recently published an editorial in the journal Science titled “Managing Colorado River Risk.” In their editorial, Udall and Fleck describe the management history of the river, highlight how climate science has been used to support decision-making in this region in the past, and how it may inform water management plans in the future.  

The full editorial from Science can be accessed, here

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