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.


2 thoughts on “What Agriculture Does to the Colorado River

  1. Good blog, I think a lot of river basins experience this problem. But what is the solution to it? I think we have to be more aware how important water is for us. Of course for our consumption but also for our economy. WATER IS THE DRIVING FORCE not oil. What should be changed according to you? TIP for your blog: share a link of the article in your blog so we can read the article:D


    1. Hi, thanks for your feedback! I think the government should put a cap on water usage in agriculture, so the farmers don’t waste too much water and people start investing in more sustainable ways of growing crops or feeding cattle. I totally agree with you: nothing can exist without water, yet very few people seem to realize this fact.

      Also: I forgot to put the link in the text this week, thanks for reminding me of that. If you click “article” it should pop up.

      Thanks again!


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