Colorado Agreements and conservation of water

  • Created by: ZoeCouch
  • Created on: 23-01-18 19:16
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  • Colorado River: Agreements over water
    • Background information
      • This river drains 7% of the USA and covers area 1.1 times the size of France
      • Supplies water to eight states
      • contains 11 major dams and reserviors
      • irrigate 1.4 million hectares of farmland
      • provides drinking water for 50 million Americans
      • controls flooding and produces HEP
      • Water storage in Lake Powell and Mead both at 43% capacity
      • Demand and climate change have depleted Colorado's storage to 48%
      • Since 1990s average annual flow has decreased by 15%
      • the 11-year avergage temperature has increased by 2 degrees since 1970
      • The Colorado Basin has been in drought since 2000
    • How water was split after 1922 Colorado Compact
      • Population here was lower and average rainfall 10% higher when compact first formed.
      • Now there is more pressure on the basin with an out-of-date agreement
      • Mexico takes 10% of total flow
      • States in the Lower Basin take 50% of total flow with Upper Basin falling short by 10%
      • California takes 20% more than allocation which had been agreed separately in 1963
      • Native Americans owed 5% but could claim more as reservation extend along the river and two tributaires
    • 2007 agreement
      • No longer share the Colorado's water; instead the seven US states divide up shortages.
      • The amount of water available determines how much is supplied to each state
      • As a result, California has reduced the amount it extracts by 20%
    • 2012 agreement- Minute 139
      • Signed between the US and Mexico
      • Mexico given right to store some of it's Colorado water in Lake Mead
      • water providers in Colorado river Basin can purchase water conserved through improving Mexico's canals and storage infrastructure
    • Following strategies are being implemented or considered in US
      • Domestic conservation- 30% of water could be saved by repairing leaks or metering supplies. Saving water can also be done by planting drought-tolerant plants and using smart irrigation systems.
      • Reusing Wastewater- from sewage treatment for landscape irrigation and industry, or to recharge aquifers.
      • Save storm water- by redirecting water into urban parks for irrigation using concrete storm-drains
      • Smart Planning could be introduced so new houses are only permitted where water supplies are adequate


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