The Colorado River Basin

The Colorado River provides water to nearly 40 million people, flows through 9 National Parks, and drives a $1.4 trillion economy. If the Colorado River basin were a country, it would be the world’s 7th largest by economic output. But the river is stretched to its limit. Climate change and increasing water demand due to an expanding population is and will continue present significant challenges that if left unaddressed, will impact our regional and national economies, degrade the environment, challenge our agricultural heritage and food production, and limit recreational opportunities from fishing and boating to skiing.
The Upper Colorado River Basin, defined by the river network above Lee’s Ferry in northern Arizona, is comprised of 4 states – Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming. Collectively, the Upper Basin States contribute the vast majority of the water coming in to the Colorado River Basin, primarily through winter snowpack, but with the impacts of climate change altering the amount of snowpack and timing of spring runoff, water supply in the Colorado River is increasingly strained.

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