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Conservation Critical, Colorado River Study Finds

PHOTO: Ensuring that the Colorado River has enough water to support millions of people in Utah 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 Utah 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

SALT LAKE CITY – Reuse and conserve are the two big points in a new study about how to stretch the water in the Colorado River to meet the needs of Utahns and others who depend on the river.

Matt Rice is director of the Colorado Basin Program with the environmental advocacy group Americans Rivers. It issued the report, "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.

Recommendations are many, and include landscaping techniques, rebate programs to encourage
water-saving devices, updating agriculture irrigation systems, treating gray water so it's potable – or can be used for agriculture and industry – and capturing rainwater.

Rice says that everyone can all pitch in by using less water in daily life.

"People in Utah can help save water by installing more efficient faucets and toilets, and switching to a desert landscape which requires far less water,” he says. “We can all do our part to 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 - UT