The Colorado River has lost 2.3 trillion cubic ft of water since 2004

Colorado river, shortenage of water

Abandoned: Shrubs grow around a boat near Boulder Beach in an area that used to be completely submerged under water

In the latest study researchers report the Colorado River has lost  2.3 trillion cubic feet (65 cubic kilometers) of water since 2004.

Reservoirs have shrunk to less than half their capacities, the canyon walls around them ringed with white mineral deposits where water once lapped.

Much of it has been lost because of groundwater depletion from aquifers in the Basin. What are the causes?

Water level minus 65%

The drought is getting serious. The last 14 years it hardly rains. Wether changes because of climate change in the American Southwest. And most experts agree that the basin will get even drier: A brace of global-warming studies concludes that rising temperatures will reduce the Colorado’s average flow after 2050 by five to 35 percent, even if rainfall remains the same — and most of those studies predict that rains will diminish.

And because of the increasing dry periods, farmers use more groundwater. It’s a matter of time and then we will face the next problem: food shortage.

As of July 2014 the water level is at its lowest since the Hoover Dam was completed in the 1930s. The Lake itself is only 39% full and the bathtub ring evident in the picture is almost 40 meters (130 feet) thick.  Lake Powell to the north, the smaller of the two reservoirs is at 52% capacity.

Shortage of electric (hydro) power

This is impacting power generation and in addition has forced the United States to construct an $800 million U.S. tunnel under the Lake to maintain water flow below the dam site.

The 2 million people of city of Las Vegas and the 40 million who annually visit are completely dependent on Colorado water. And seven southwestern states and Mexico are equally dependent.

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