Or: “Colorado vs. Mississippi tug o’ war over the Missouri”
The slices of the Colorado River pie are getting cut thinner and thinner. With growing populations in southwestern cities and increased needs for irrigation, doling out the dwindling supplies of the Colorado River has reached such a dried up state that government agents are suggesting piping water from the Missouri River 600 miles across Kansas to Denver. The federal Bureau of Reclamation (part of the Department of the Interior) will be releasing a report this week proposing a constellation of options for mediating growing concern over water supplies for the ~25 million people who rely on the Colorado River, reports the NYTimes.
Just before Thanksgiving, the US and Mexico signed a new version of the treaty delineating how the Colorado River water is shared and managed, reported the NYTimes. The last time the two countries signed such a document was over sixty years ago in 1944. So many stakeholders rely on the Colorado for water, the river has become famous for drying up before it ever reaches the Gulf of California (see NASA photo below). The treaty lays out a plan for the US to assist Mexico in restoring the river delta’s now desert-like wetland, which was historically an important stop over for migrating birds and was about two million acres in size. Read more about the ecology of the disappearing river delta from the Sonoran Institute and how it has affected the native community in this National Geographic article.