The Colorado River, which serves seven states in the American Southwest, will likely have a shortage of water by 2020 and the federal government has ordered the states to plan for drought conditions.
As fires continue to rage throughout the western states, particularly California and Colorado, more than 4.6 million acres have been lost. According to a University of Oregon researcher, many factors are at work.
The rain and snow that typically nourish the Colorado River, which in turn serves as the most important water source for the American Southwest, have been abysmal this year, and meteorologists are warning of a permanent shift in the area’s weather patterns.
Most of Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico are experiencing severe drought, and meteorologists are expecting conditions to worsen, according to the National Drought Mitigation Center.
A pilot program in Colorado is being tested to determine if it can help protect river flows during dry periods.