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California's Use of the Colorado River Projected to Hit a Record Low

Water use is going down in California, and the state is leaving more of the Colorado River in the watershed, for now.
December 10, 2019, 9am PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Hoover Dam Downstream

"California’s use of Colorado River water this year is on track to be the lowest since at least 1949," according to a post by John Fleck.

While water data in the early years of Colorado River diversion is "sketchy," according to Fleck, the data shared here spans back to 1950. "The current forecast of 3.92 million acre feet of California use of Colorado River water is lower than any year in that record," according to Fleck.

Fleck also explains how California was able to achieve this significant milestone: some of it was environmental luck, after an above average year for snowfall left reservoirs full and the state without need for as much water from the Colorado. "But the Sierra snowpack, while good, clearly wasn’t the largest since 1950, right?"

"The second and arguably more important reason is a point Eric Kuhn and I make in our new book Science Be Dammed. While much of the book is about the problem of ignoring science on the supply side, we also argue in its concluding chapter that we are at risk of ignoring science on the demand side as well. Simply put, water use is going down."

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Published on Monday, December 9, 2019 in John Fleck
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