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.
Even if more snow falls in Colorado later this winter, it might not make up for a record low in precipitation across the state, say meteorologists. In response to this bad news, utilities have stepped up monitoring of reserves to determine how much water they can leave in reservoirs that will not threaten dam capacity if more snow and rain eventually fall.
In the quarter ending June 30, 2017, Rural Community Assistance Corporation (RCAC) closed 14 loans totaling nearly $8 million to assist rural communities in Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon and Washington. Among those that received loans were a nonprofit organization that supports Arizona migrant workers and a rural Nevada food hub.