Biden Proposes Water Supply Cuts to Address Colorado River Drought

Biden Proposes Water Supply Cuts to Address Colorado River Drought

( – The Colorado River is one of the largest rivers in America, beginning in the Rocky Mountains and flowing for 1,450 miles, emptying into the Gulf of California in the northwestern corner of Mexico. Flowing through the Grand Canyon, it crosses seven states, including Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, Nevada, Arizona, California, and New Mexico. It sources Hoover Dam and gathers water from the Colorado River to fill Lake Mead, which supplies water resources and electricity to citizens in three states. The River also provides an irrigation source for 5.5 million acres of farmlands.

Longstanding drought conditions are affecting water levels in the Colorado River Basin, which is separated into Upper and Lower divisions. Upper Basin residents get their water from smaller tributaries. Those in the Lower Basin source their water from Lake Powell and Lake Mead, both artificial reservoirs filled by the River.

President Biden has revealed a proposal to address the drought issue, a growing concern for years. The Department of the Interior (DOI) listed two options to handle lower water levels on both sides of the Basin. Both options include federal requirements to reduce water supplies to seven states, which would affect millions of American citizens as well as businesses and farms of all sizes.

The DOI suggests maintaining water supplies according to seniority for entities that use Colorado River water and decreasing supply to those organizations in the Lower Basin considered to have junior-level water rights, one of which supplies Phoenix with its water needs. This option would benefit California’s agricultural industry the most.

The DOI’s second option is to reduce the water supply uniformly, equally affecting everyone across the board, regardless of water rights. Farmers are the big loser in this choice – or better said, the rest of America loses because these farmers provide the majority of the nation’s produce.

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