Aug 19, 2019 | Updated: 09:43 PM EDT

Colorado River Flow Decreases Because Of Climate Change

Feb 22, 2017 07:00 AM EST

Colorado River Flow Decreases Because Of Climate Change
(Photo : John Moore/Getty Images) ANDRADE, CA - NOVEMBER 17: U.S. Border Patrol agents patrol the Colorado River, which forms 24 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border on November 17, 2016 in Andrade, California. Border Patrol agents say they catch groups of illegal immigrants and drug smugglers crossing in from Mexico there daily.

The Colorado River has decreased its flow because of climate change. Scientist from University of Arizona said it will keep on decreasing because of global warming.

University of Arizona News has reported that new research has found out the correlation of climate change to the lowering of the river flow in Colorado River.  The temperature and precipitation are negatively affecting the Colorado River. It has decreased Colorado River flows by at least 0.5 million acre-feet. It is the same amount that 2 million people will use for at least a year, according to new research from the University of Arizona and Colorado State University.

According to Science Daily, it is easy to determine the increase in temperature. The climate change models are on to that. What are hard are the precipitation projections. The new report is the first to measure the effects of temperature and precipitation to Colorado River. Every time the temperature increases, the river flow will decreases, explained the study.

"This paper is the first to show the large role that warming temperatures are playing in reducing the flows of the Colorado River," said Overpeck, UA Regents' Professor of Geosciences and of Hydrology and Atmospheric Sciences and director of the UA Institute of the Environment.

Colorado River is supplying 40 million people across seven Western United States and two more Mexican states. Every year, there is a 2.9 million acre-feet decrease in the flow. That decrease can give water to millions of people per year. From 2000-2014, the river's flows lowered to only 81 percent of the 20th-century average, according to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.

Colorado River needs to be protected. Its future is not a fairytale story that will solve its problem all on its own. Water managers need to wake up and plan a strategy that will be effective in lowering the decrease in river flows, said Udall, senior water and climate scientist/scholar at CSU's Colorado Water Institute.

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