THE COLORADO RIVER WATERS THE AMERICAN SOUTHWEST
The Colorado River system, including the river, its streams, and the lands that those waters drain, is called the Colorado River Watershed. It drains 246,000 square miles, including parts of U.S. states Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, Nevada, Arizona, California and Mexico. Colorado River Basin is federal land comprised of national forests, national parks, and Indian reservations. The drainage total runoff is 25,000 cubic feet per second, about two-thirds is used for irrigation, and the other one-third supplies urban areas, evaporates into the atmosphere, or provides water to riparian vegetation.
Today nearly 17 million people depend on the Colorado’s waters 80 percent of the region’s residents live in Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona, and Las Vegas, Nevada are the largest cities in the basin, and they use the Colorado River as their prime source of water. Water from the Colorado River is diverted eastward across the Rocky Mountains to Denver, The Colorado River Aqueduct carries water to metropolitan Los Angeles, and the Central Arizona Project supplies the Phoenix and Tucson areas. The All-American Canal provides water for the Imperial Valley of southern California, a productive agricultural region created in the desert. Los Angeles Canal built in 1930-31
The Central Arizona Project brings 1.5 million acre-feet of Colorado River water per year to Pima, Pinal and Maricopa counties in southern Arizona between Phoenix and Tucson.Glenn Morales fertilizes CAP water on the San Xavier Farm south of Tucson.
The CAP carries water from Lake Havasu near Parker to the southern boundary of the San Xavier Indian Reservation southwest of Tucson. It is a 336-mile long system of aqueducts, tunnels, pumping plants and pipelines and is the largest single resource of renewable water supplies in the state of Arizona.
The Colorado River is the primary water source for these four major US cities, all considered at-risk for suffering from acute water shortage, Los Angeles (first) Phoenix (third) Las Vegas (seven) and Tucson (eighth). Other cities on the list are Texan towns of Houston, San Antonio, Fort Worth and Orlando Florida, Atlanta Georgia and the entire California San Francisco Bay area.
Currently Tucson (ranked 8th) receives less than 12 inches of rainfall each year, the Tucson region uses about 350,000 acre-feet of water per year. At this rate, Tucson’s groundwater supply, which now provides the majority of the city’s water, has a very limited life span. In addition to this, the city is currently bringing in 314,000 acre-feet per year from the Colorado River under the Central Arizona Project. However, Tucson has added more than 20,000 people since 2000.
Las Vegas (ranked 7th) receives 4.5 inches of rainfall each year. Home to a half million people living in the middle of the Mojave Desert getting 85 % of its water from Lake Mead which is now almost 60% dry. Perhaps the lights going out in LA will be noticed when Hoover Dam stops producing electricity in 2013.
Phoenix (ranked 3rd) receives 8.3 inches of rainfall leaving 1,593,659 people depending upon their groundwater, the Salt-Gila Complex, and the Colorado River for their drinking water. Phoenix is adopting an recycling campaign to aggressively replenish groundwater, and cut back on over use.
Los Angeles (ranked lst) receives 14.77 inches of rainfall annually leaving 3,831,868 people depending upon the Colorado River drinking water carried by miles of pipes, aqueducts. The fastest growing city in the country continues to increase its demand at an unsustainable rate.
Hoover Dam, which is the main source of electricity for LA and much of the greater southwest, is now producing at a lower rate than it has historically. Some scientists suspect this drop-off will continue to a point where its electricity production is too small to sustain the dam economically. Los Angeles, even if the dam doesn’t cease production in 2013, as some predict, it still faces serious water shortages.
aerial view of the US-MEXICO BORDER showing Colorado River Water in the ALL AMERICAN CANAL and the irrigated Imperial Valley and note the lands south of the border-the empty lands of Mexico.
THE ALL-AMERICAN CANAL
The All-American Canal is a 170-foot-wide conduit that transports water from the Colorado River near Yuma, Ariz., across the arid desert along the Mexican border for 17 miles into the Imperial Valley of Southern California and with over 500 people having drowned in the canal since 1997, it has been called “the Most Dangerous Body of Water in the U.S.. The canal was constructed in the late 1930s and early 1940s, it supplies water to the Imperial Irrigation District. It is the largest water canal in the world at 80 miles in length.
MILTON COLEMAN from YUMA Says the BLUEGILL fish he catches is the “best-eating” fish he catches in the All AMERICAN CANAL…
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