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Nature Controls Colorado River Outlook

Hoover Dam from the air, Oct. 14, 2015. Bradley J. Fikes
Hoover Dam from the air, Oct. 14, 2015. Bradley J. Fikes

The Colorado River Basin’s water supply is mainly affected by wet and dry weather cycles, not changes in human use, according to a study¬†led by researchers from the University of Texas at Austin.

The strained nature of the system is caused by the lack of enough precipitation between droughts to fully replenish what was consumed, the study indicates.

Fixing this will require greater efforts to store as much water as possible in the rainy years, the study said. The study was published Dec. 10 in Water Resources Research Journal.

Researchers examined 30 years of water records and more than a decade of data from NASA’s GRACE satellite system to find water storage changes in the basin, which supplies water to seven states and 40 million people.

The San Diego Union-Tribune, Dec. 13, 2015

 

Featuring: Bridget Scanlon, senior research scientist, Bureau of Economic Geology, Jackson School of Geosciences