Economic Benefits Generated by the Colorado River

Economic Benefits Generated by the Colorado River

Based on a piece by the Nature Conservancy.

“If the river were to run dry, the Colorado River basin could face not only ecosystem collapse, but economic collapse, too.” 

This sentence says it all. If you’re not concerned about the ecosystem, the other thing you should be concerned about is the economy. Like the image above says: the Colorado River generates $1.4 trillion in economic benefits each year. That equals about 1/12th of the domestic product of the United States. The Colorado River also supports 16 million jobs in in California, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and Wyoming. That’s over 5% of the American population provided with jobs.

If 10% of the water from this river were gone, the consequence would be the loss of $143 billion in economic activity alongside 1.6 million jobs. And this all within a year. Imagine what would happen when this happens (because one day soon it will, especially at the rate we’re going at) and how many jobs would be gone within five or ten or twenty years.

So yes, people should be concerned with this river running dry. Especially the people who live there and use the water themselves. The people who are provided with jobs because of this body of water.

Let’s all be more careful with how we use water. If not for your future, do it for the futures of the generations to come.


What Agriculture Does to the Colorado River

What Agriculture Does to the Colorado River

Based on an article by Michael Cohen, Juliet Christian-Smith and John Berggren for the Pacific Institute.

This article says that “more than 90% of pasture and cropland in the 256,000-square-mile Colorado River Basin requires irrigation, with about 60% of the irrigated acreage devoted to pasture, alfalfa, and other forage crops used to feed cattle and horses. These forage crops consume about 5 million acre-feet per year, equivalent to a third of the river’s annual flow.” So you can tell that this way of agriculture is not sustainable at all. And thus far, no agreements have been made about a cap for water usage in the agricultural world that surrounds this basin. I can understand that farmers don’t like being told what to do, but without doing so there will be no future for their farming business.

As I’ve previously mentioned in other posts, the way we handle water is not sustainable at all. The amount of water taken out of the basin is larger than the amount that comes in, and with our eye on climate change this amount will only increase. That is until, one day, there is no water left. What then? I think the starting point is agriculture.