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Study Urges Reuse and Conservation as Colorado River Endures Record Drought

PHOTO: Ensuring that the Colorado River has enough water to support millions of people in Arizona and throughout the Southwest is the focus of a study from the nonprofit group American Rivers. Photo courtesy of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
PHOTO: Ensuring that the Colorado River has enough water to support millions of people in Arizona and throughout the Southwest is the focus of a study from the nonprofit group American Rivers. Photo courtesy of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
July 28, 2014

PHOENIX – Water conservation and reuse are being urged in a study that makes recommendations about addressing the Colorado River drought, which threatens the future well-being of Arizona and six other Western states.

Matt Rice is director of the Colorado Basin Program with the environmental advocacy group Americans Rivers. It helped to publish "The Hardest Working River in the West: Common-Sense Solutions for a Reliable Water Future for the Colorado River Basin."

"We're walking on the edge,” Rice stresses. “We're on the verge of a potential crisis.

“Applying these measures, implementing these solutions across the board would avert that crisis."

Rice says the Hardest Working River plan would save 3.8 million-acre feet of water, which is the projected long-term water deficit if the drought continues.

Basically, he says it would conserve and reuse enough water to maintain human life, wildlife, agriculture and outdoor recreation through an extended period of drought.

Rice says his organization's plan calls for municipalities and farmers to employ more water-efficient management practices.

He says everyone can all help out by trying to use less water in daily life.

"People in Arizona can help save water by installing more efficient faucets, toilets, and switching to a desert landscape which requires far less water,” he points out. “We can all do our part and help ensure that we have enough water for the future."

Rice adds the last decade of severe drought has left Colorado River levels at the two main storage reservoirs, Lake Mead in Nevada and Lake Powell in Utah, at historically low levels.



Troy Wilde, Public News Service - AZ