Monday June 12, 2023

Cowboy State Daily

This wet spring has been a blessing for the parched Colorado River, but it would take 21 more like it to fully restore the watershed, an expert on the river said.

“I keep getting asked that same question — is this spring going to be enough?” Brad Udall, a senior scientist and scholar at Colorado State University, told Cowboy State Daily on Thursday.

It would take at least six more springs like this one just to get the Colorado River Basin out of a water supply vs. demand deficit, and “that’s not going to happen,” he said.

Even further outside the realm of possibility, it would take 21 more springs like this one to completely refill the basin’s entire water infrastructure, including Lake Powell and Lake Mead, he said.

So, the bottom line is water deficits are the norm along the Colorado River, he said.

The river and its tributaries supply water for 40 million people, including residents in Wyoming and six other states, numerous sovereign Native American tribes and Mexico.

Udall was one of the speakers during the 43rd annual Colorado Law Conference on Natural Resources on Thursdqy. The conference convened at the University Colorado Campus in Boulder, with the theme “Crisis on the Colorado River.”

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