The seven states that rely on the river for water are not expected to reach a deal on cuts. It appears the Biden administration will have to impose reductions.
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Just north of the California-Mexico border, the All-American Canal cuts across 80 miles of barren, dune-swept desert. Up to 200 feet wide and 20 feet deep, the canal delivers the single largest share of Colorado River water to the fertile farmlands of the Imperial Valley.
The Colorado River begins as melting snow, trickling from forested peaks and coursing in streams that gather in the meadows and valleys of the Rocky Mountains.
Like arteries, its major tributaries take shape across Colorado, Wyoming, Utah and New Mexico, coming together in a great river like no other — a river that travels more than 1,400 miles and has defined the rise of the American Southwest over the last century.
Muddy water whizzed past as John Weisheit steered a motorboat upstream in the Colorado River. He revved the engine as the boat sped around a bend and up a riffle.
There’s something familiar about the high stakes water use drama playing out in the U.S. Southwest.
The mighty Colorado River serves as an economic artery of the region, powering massive hydroelectric dams and supplying water to farmers and rapidly growing cities across the region. But continued overuse during a massive yearslong megadrought—the driest stretch the area has experienced in more than a millennia—has caused water reservoir levels to fall to unprecedented lows, imperiling water supplies and the operation of crucial power plants.
A century after her grandfather arrived to eke a living out of the hot, red dirt here, Susan Savage still structures her life around the groundwater. Twice daily, she checks the well her family’s pasturelands, orchards and animals depend on, watching its level drop in recent years amid punishing drought.
States in the Colorado River basin are scrambling to propose steep cuts in the water they’ll use from the river next year, in response to a call by the federal government for immediate, drastic efforts to keep the river’s main storage reservoirs from reaching critically low levels.
Utah’s Great Salt Lake dropped to its lowest recorded level this month amid a two-decade drought, a grim milestone as researchers and politicians point to grave threats to wildlife and people along its receding shores.
The U.S. Department of Energy said Wednesday it has closed on a $504.4 million loan guarantee for a “green” hydrogen storage project in Utah that will initially be able to store up to 150 GWh worth of hydrogen, providing “seasonal” energy storage in the West.
Climate change and rapid population growth are shrinking the lake, creating a bowl of toxic dust that could poison the air around Salt Lake City.