Drought Due to Climate Change Has Now Taken a Heavy Toll on the Colorado River

Nature is the most significant contributor to the world’s economy and the survival of humankind. If the vital ecosystems cease to exist, it will create a domino effect of threats that will have an extreme impact on meeting human needs. For instance, nature is the largest supplier of water needed for livelihood. But, as climate change worsens, it is inevitable to predict worst-case scenarios for inland aquatic ecosystems such as rivers. Certain parts of the world have experienced extreme drought, and the Colorado river was no exception.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons/herdiephoto

The 1,450-mile-long river has been the water source for over 36 million people — from California, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming. Aside from providing water for homes, the river also irrigates 4 million acres of farmland and is a business asset for the water-based recreation industry. More importantly, the Colorado river is home to endemic fish species and birds. The river is clearly a gift to humanity, but with the ongoing threat, the federal government demands that people cut back on water consumption.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Dameon Hudson

“The Colorado River basin has been in a drought for 23 years. The water released from the two dams, Glen Canyon, and the Hoover Dam, will be reduced,” said deputy secretary of the Department of the Interior Tommy Beaudreau. “And the second year in a row of water shortages is a sign of the severity of the drought and critically low reservoir conditions,” he added.

Arizona has already decreased its water consumption by 21%, Nevada is expected to reduce by 8%, and Mexico has reduced its annual consumption by 7%. Although frustrations have been expressed, reducing water consumption is necessary to save water until the situation gets resolved. ABC News has also interviewed Alejandra Borunda, an environment writer for National Geographic. In the interview, Alejandra explained what exactly is happening in the river basin and how the current situation is deeply worrisome.

Photo: Youtube/ABC News

“There’s this really incredible ongoing drought across the west and the southwest that has actually been going on and waxing and waning for over 20 years now, and it’s truly historic. Scientists have found out that it’s the worst 22-year stretch of drought in at least the last 1,200 years.” Alejandra shared. Climate change has contributed to 40% of the decline in the water supply. The Colorado river is evidently in its worst state since its water reservoirs are only 25% full.

Photo: Youtube/ABC News

Communities cutting back on water usage is the first step in saving such significant water form. But the work does not stop there; Alejandra shared that those communities and the federal government have worked together to stabilize the water supply. These groups are figuring out a fair deal for everyone, which requires a lot of sacrifices. ABC news reporter Kayna Whitworth also showed how certain groups, such as ranchers, have taken action to lessen the Colorado River threat. The ranchers installed five riffles to restore the river’s upper basin.

“Raising the water table, focusing on the health of the Colorado River, and allowing irrigation for productive, profitable agriculture it is this region’s adaptation to climate change,” the informant explained. Such news can spark hope, especially when you see the people not just standing by. They are also working hard to get back the river that made their lives easier and has supported their livelihood for years. Everyone has been doing their part, whether they’re simple citizens or big organizations. Hopefully, combined efforts will restore the Colorado river so that it may still run for years.

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