One of the biggest rivers in America, the Colorado River flows 1,450 miles from its source in the Rocky Mountains to the Gulf of California in the northwest corner of Mexico. It passes through seven states, including Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, Nevada, Arizona, California, and New Mexico, before flowing into the Grand Canyon.
It fills Lake Mead with water from the Colorado River and Hoover Dam, supplying three states’ worth of residents with both water and energy. A supply of irrigation for 5.5 million acres of crops is also provided by the River.
Water levels in the Colorado River Basin’s Upper and Lower divisions are being impacted by the ongoing drought. Smaller tributaries provide water to dwellers of the Upper Basin. The Lower Basin residents get their water from Lake Powell and Lake Mead, two man-made lakes that the River fills.
The drought issue has been a rising concern for years, and President Biden has released a plan to combat it. To deal with reduced water levels on both sides of the Basin, the Department of the Interior (DOI) provided two choices. Both proposals would compel the federal government to restrict water supply to seven states, which would have an impact on millions of Americans as well as small and large businesses and farmers.
The DOI recommends preserving water supplies based on seniority for organizations that use Colorado River water and reducing supply to those in the Lower Basin that are thought to have junior-level water rights; one of these organizations provides Phoenix with its water needs. The agricultural sector in California would most likely profit from this choice.
The DOI’s second alternative is to universally reduce water availability, which would impact everyone equally and irrespective of water rights. Since these farmers produce the majority of the country’s produce, they stand to lose the most from this decision, or, to put it another way, so does the rest of America.