Whose Colorado River Is It?

Dividing Up a Single Water Source Among 30 Million People—and Leaving Some for Nature—Is a Tricky Business

Over 30 million people rely on the Colorado River for water—for purposes ranging from drinking to agriculture to power plants. But scientists predict that the river isn’t going to produce the amount of water it did in the past—or does today. Which is why the question of whether or not the river can survive is a timely one, said Arizona Republic water reporter Shaun McKinnon. McKinnon was moderating a Zócalo/ASU event attended by a full-house crowd at ASU Colleges at Lake Havasu City.

Arizona Municipal Water Users Association executive director Kathleen Ferris said the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation estimates a potential shortage of 3.2 million acre-feet of water in the next 50 years, as demand for Colorado River water outstrips capacity. “We have to get back to reality,” she said. “What can that river really sustain, and how can we ensure …

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