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Can icebergs from Alaska protect Colorado River flows?

Feds release public input on far-reaching supply and demand study

Business as usual won't cut it on the Colorado River, where demand has already exceeded supply the past 10 years or so.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY— Any way you slice it, the Colorado River simply can’t provide enough water on a regular basis to meet all the demands, ranging from municipal use to agriculture and sustaining healthy ecosystems for endangered native fish and non-native species important for recreation.

There may be water years — like 2010-2011 — when there’s an apparent surplus, at least for a short time, but that water goes into storage, primarily in Lake Powell, to buffer against future shortages. Even with last year’s bounty, Lake Powell didn’t come close to filling. While water managers may dream about a series of wet years, the reality is that in the long term, use of the river’s water will continue to exceed.

The only way to meet the demand is borrow against the river’s future by using stored water. This year, with snowpack in the key Upper Colorado Basin below 50 percent of average at the start of the runoff season, will be another one of those years when we go deeper into water debt. Continue reading

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