The University of Arizona

Climate Change in the Colorado River Basin | CLIMAS

Climate Change in the Colorado River Basin

TitleClimate Change in the Colorado River Basin
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2005
AuthorsGarfin, GM
Book TitleColorado River Basin Climate: Paleo, Present, Future

The Colorado River, which flows through seven Western states to the Sea of Cortez in Mexico, provides water to some of the nation?s key agricultural areas, as well as to rapidly expanding urban populations. The recent multi-year severe drought has drawn attention to water supply vulnerability in the Colorado River Basin (Basin). During the exceedingly dry years between 1999 and 2004, Colorado River reservoir storage declined rapidly. Drought impacts, including reductions in irrigation water supplies in Colorado and Arizona, mandatory urban water use restrictions in cities such as Denver and Las Vegas, and multi-million dollar investments in tourism infrastructure in order to keep pace with Lake Powell?s receding shorelines, have drawn comparison with the potential impacts of climate change. This article briefly examines the state of knowledge about climate change in the Basin and projections of climate change for the region.