Darn it! A few wet years will not save us!
Once more the Colorado River Research Group (CRRG) say what needs to be said, this time in their new report Climate Change and the Colorado River: What We Already Know.
As they note, “Few topics generate as many questions, misunderstandings, and arguments as does climate change.” While right now there are many political protestations to the contrary, the science is quite clear.
The report document provides a few “policy lessons” to guide immediate action. Specifically, they note that the region is warming rapidly (and will continue to do so), and while there is much uncertainty around future precipitation levels, the added heat in the system makes it almost inevitable that streamflows will continue to decline. For those familiar with the science, this is not a new message, but it’s useful to keep reminding others that the troubling hydrologic conditions on the river are not merely the result of a drought that will soon go away.
Two friendly additions to their report:
- The headwaters forests of Colorado, Wyoming and Utah are the source of over 85% of the flow in the river’s mainstem. These forested watersheds need to be restored – ASAP.
- What do these findings mean for poor people downstream in both rural and urban areas? Will families that depend on farm work survive? Will poor urbanites be able to afford the inevitable higher water prices? As we’ve noted in recent articles, these are policy and human rights questions that need to be tackled – again ASAP.
As with other CRRG reports, this is a concise (4 page), user friendly document focused on key themes and “truths” – a good primer for those who are looking for quick read.
October 21, 2016
Photo Credit: Wikipedia