The hardest working river: Drought and critical water problems in the colorado river basin

Roger S. Pulwarty, Katharine Jacobs, Randall M. Dole

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

23 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The Colorado River flows 2300 km (about 1400 mi) from the high mountain regions of Colorado through seven basin states to the Sea of Cortez in Mexico (Figure 1). The river supplies much of the water needs of seven U.S. states, two Mexican states, and 34 Native American tribes. These represent a population of 25 million inhabitants, with a projection of 38 million by the year 2020. Approximately 2% of the basin is in Mexico. The Colorado does not discharge a large volume of water. Because of the scale of impoundments and withdrawals relative to its flow, the Colorado has been called the most legislated and managed river in the world. It has also been called the most “cussed” and “discussed” river in the United States. About 86% of the Colorado’s annual runoff originates within only 15% of the area, in the high mountains of Colorado and the Wind River Range in Wyoming. In the semiarid Southwest, even relatively small changes in precipitation can have large impacts on water supplies. The coefficient of variation for the Colorado is about 33%.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationDrought and Water Crises
Subtitle of host publicationScience, Technology, and Management Issues
PublisherCRC Press
Pages249-285
Number of pages37
ISBN (Electronic)9781420028386
ISBN (Print)9780824727710
StatePublished - Jan 1 2005

Fingerprint

Drought
Catchments
river basin
Rivers
drought
river
Water
water
mountain region
impoundment
river flow
basin
Runoff
Water supply
water supply
runoff
high mountain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)
  • Environmental Science(all)

Cite this

Pulwarty, R. S., Jacobs, K., & Dole, R. M. (2005). The hardest working river: Drought and critical water problems in the colorado river basin. In Drought and Water Crises: Science, Technology, and Management Issues (pp. 249-285). CRC Press.

The hardest working river : Drought and critical water problems in the colorado river basin. / Pulwarty, Roger S.; Jacobs, Katharine; Dole, Randall M.

Drought and Water Crises: Science, Technology, and Management Issues. CRC Press, 2005. p. 249-285.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Pulwarty, RS, Jacobs, K & Dole, RM 2005, The hardest working river: Drought and critical water problems in the colorado river basin. in Drought and Water Crises: Science, Technology, and Management Issues. CRC Press, pp. 249-285.
Pulwarty RS, Jacobs K, Dole RM. The hardest working river: Drought and critical water problems in the colorado river basin. In Drought and Water Crises: Science, Technology, and Management Issues. CRC Press. 2005. p. 249-285
Pulwarty, Roger S. ; Jacobs, Katharine ; Dole, Randall M. / The hardest working river : Drought and critical water problems in the colorado river basin. Drought and Water Crises: Science, Technology, and Management Issues. CRC Press, 2005. pp. 249-285
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