The Salt Lake Tribune states the obvious that many overlook. The Colorado River is crucial for the entire economy of the American West, generating $26 billion in recreation income as well as water for millions..
The largest employer in the American Southwest isn’t a company, a military base, a government. When anyone talks about job creators in this part of the country, they should include the Colorado River.
In addition, the Colorado River provides huge amounts of water to agriculture in California’s Imperial Valley, virtually all water for Las Vegas, and water for several other states as well. But the continuing drought and ever-increasing demand for water has the river overstressed.
It’s easy to take the river for granted. And it is so much a part of the lives of all Westerners that the idea of the Colorado shrinking is simply incomprehensible. But its flow is decreasing, and the water storage it supports in Lake Powell and Lake Mead is evaporating.
Water managers, government planners and residents of the states supported by the Colorado are facing a water crisis caused by overuse and a warming climate, and everyone must take responsibility for finding solutions.