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“The Sky is Not Falling…Yet,” Concludes a New Study of Colorado River Problems


The Center for Natural Resources and Environmental Policy at the University of Montana has just issued its report, “Thinking Like a River Basin.” The report was commissioned by Carpe Diem West, a group dedicated to studying climate change and water in the West.

The report is based on interviews with 29 Colorado River experts and stakeholders who were promised anonymity in exchange for their views. The need for anonymity suggests the sensitivity of the subject; apparently, real candor about hot button river issues can only be obtained by insulating the interviewees from their respective constituencies.

The report is an excellent primer on the issues confronting the 30 million people using Colorado River water amidst the uncertainties created by climate change and growing populations.

But as the report acknowledges, “a reader searching for clear recommendations may be frustrated.” The report reads more like a complete catalog of ideas about what should and should not be done in the Colorado River Basin where supply and demand are in a “precarious balance,” in the report’s words. Many argue that the balance point has been passed and demand now exceeds supply.

On one point the report found unanimity: “without exception, every person we spoke with expressed concern about the Colorado River’s ability to meet growing demands in the future.”

The report’s principal headline: “The sky is not falling…yet.”

Find the report here:



Last modified Tue, 5 Jul, 2011 at 5:56