International

Whose water is it anyway? CSU shares $4.9M grant for evaluating water rights

21 September 2018

Colorado State University, The Fence Post
21 September 2018

Mountain snowpack and rainfall are the primary sources of water for the southwestern United States, and water allocation institutions determine how that water gets distributed among competing uses. This includes agriculture, which accounts for approximately 80 percent of water diversions in Colorado.

The “Arid West,” which includes Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah, receives precipitation in the mountains far from agricultural fields, or during winter months when crops are not grown.

Climate change, population growth and other factors mean that Western water allocation strategies may benefit from changes over the long term. The availability and seasonal timing of mountain snowpack runoff, for example, are predicted to change with a warming climate. And everyone, from farmers to municipal managers, is going to have to adapt.

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