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ABOUT THE COLORADO RIVER

Introduction

Colorado River

TESTING The Colorado River Basin is a vital source of water, ecosystem services, hydropower, recreation, and other amenities for the seven basin states (Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, and California), at least 22 federally recognized tribes, and the Republic of Mexico (Figure 1.1). The Colorado River system is managed and operated in accordance with the Law of the River, which consists of compacts, treaties, federal laws, regulations, contracts, and court decisions and decrees. There is an increasing imbalance between supply and demand in the basin. Water use, including consumptive use, within the basin has steadily increased over time and, when combined with deliveries to Mexico, is now approaching the average historical water supply (Figure 1.2). The average conditions, over time and across the basin, suggest a (barely) sufficient supply and, by smoothing out the variability, mask existing and prospective shortages.

[WWA2020]


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