Lexington-Fayette, Kentucky 2021-09-16 14:12:53 –
Height, Utah — The Colorado River is the lifeline of the western United States and is now depleted. It is just the beginning of the problems facing rivers and those who depend on them.
Along the river, people struggle with recreational sports.
“Takeout is everything, both for recreational and commercial trips here in Cataract Canyon,” said a local expert.
Trekking on steep slopes is the only option to get in and out of the Colorado River. It used to be a slope that allowed cars to return to the water, but the river has changed.
River scientists say it is the result of decades of drought and reservoir formation, exacerbated only by climate change.
“Currently, Lake Powell continues to fall, and we are worried because our forecasts indicate a future drought year,” said the same expert.
The river runs through seven states and Mexico. Over 40 million people depend on that resource.
“So we have a river that 40 million people depend on for agriculture, municipal water use, and some hydropower,” said river scientist Jack Schmitt. ..
Predictions are that the Colorado River loses 20% of its flow when it warms up every 1 degree Celsius.
“According to current projections, we could be warming 2 degrees Celsius, which could be 40% of the river. If someone cuts 40% of your salary, you We will need to make some major changes, “said Mike Dehoff, Principal Investigator for the Returning Rapids Project.
Utah’s height is basically nowhere. There used to be the top of Lake Powell. One of the country’s two major reservoirs.
“Therefore, the reduced levels of Lake Mead and Lake Powell, which together meet about 30%, are a major crisis in water supply management,” Schmidt said.
Schmidt has been studying here for decades, but he has never seen such a low river. He likens it to a budget issue.
“So it looks like we had a really big checking account that had a lot of money, we had some great great years, we flashed, we got it I’m used to using it, we’ve been using it at that level, but then we’ve lost our income, unemployment or contracts, our income is declining and we’re spending the same as our old income As a result, the balance of the checking account has decreased and the problem is when the reservoir is 30% full. Currently, there is no buffer, “Schmidt said.
The lack of a buffer means that there are few options.
“Reducing consumption in line with inflows is the only thing we have to do now to deal with this,” Schmidt said.
That’s what he says needs to happen to feed those who depend on Colorado, but it’s not that simple.
“The level of change is so dramatic that we have to shake our heads and think we didn’t understand it correctly,” Dehoff said.
Dehoff knows the land better than others, but sees the problem at hand in another way.
“We see the river recovering naturally, like no other on earth,” Dehoff said.
His project focuses on recording the recovery of river resources after Lake Powell is flooded.
“Then we started looking at the archives that flow through all these rivers to find pictures of what the rapids looked like, like in front of Glen Canyon Dam and Lake Powell. Our question was,” When will the torrent come back? Where will it go? Will it be in the same place it was? Will it look the same as it was in front of the dam? “Dehoff said.
The low water level allowed them to discover the resources beneath it.
“Colorado has habitats for endangered species not found anywhere else in the world. Torrent recreational resources, but there are also cultural resources such as part of our return torrent project. I found a cultural place to water the returning mud, “said Dehoff.
“They make it properly difficult to casually say,’If you have more water this year, let’s put it in Lake Powell.’ What they are doing is causing a pause, as adding more water to Lake Powell means drowning all these things that pop out, “Schmidt said.
Dehoff would probably argue that replenishing Lake Powell is not the answer. He says there is a better way to store water while preserving river resources.
“Lake Powell is gone and the Colorado River is regaining its corridor,” Dehoff said.