NPR Story
9:07 am
Tue May 28, 2013

Top Water Officials Meet In San Diego Over Drought-Stricken Colorado River

As the Colorado River drought continues to worsen, federal officials are meeting in San Diego Tuesday to address water conservation among the 40 top water officials in the seven western states that rely on the waterway for survival.

The meeting comes after dire warnings were made by the U.S. Interior Secretary in December that demand for water from the Colorado River exceeds the dwindling supply.

Scientists also predict climate change will exacerbate the problem by drying up the river 10 percent by 2050.

The river’s two biggest reservoirs, Lake Powell and Lake Mead, are projected to be at 45 percent capacity by the end of the year -- their lowest level since 1968.

Nearly 40 million people drink Colorado River water, including the cities of San Diego, Los Angeles, Denver, Las Vegas and Phoenix. The river also irrigates nearly four million acres of cropland.

Three committees are expected to be announced today, including one for municipal water agencies, a second for agriculture and a third for environmental groups, according to the LA Times.

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