- “Tier Drops,” by Lisa Owens Viani.
Regulations and apportioning that were set up 100 years ago are under pressure as the Colorado River shrinks. As climate change accelerates and record-breaking drought worsens, cities, tribes, and industries must prepare for a future with less water. (Online August 10)
It’s past time to get real about the Southwest’s hardest-working river.
About 40 million people rely on the Colorado River as it flows from Wyoming to Mexico. But overuse and climate change have contributed to its reservoirs drying up at such a rapid rate that the probability of disastrous disruptions to the deliveries of water and hydroelectric power across the Southwest have become increasingly likely. Now the seven states that depend on the river must negotiate major cuts in water use by mid-August or have them imposed by the federal government.
Those cuts are merely the beginning as the region struggles to adapt to an increasingly arid West. The rules for operating the river’s shrinking reservoirs expire in 2026, and those seven states must forge a new agreement on water use for farmers, businesses and cities.