Human Impact in the Colorado River
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Overuse of Colorado River Has Huge Effects

Overuse of Colorado River Has Huge Effects | Human Impact in the Colorado River | Scoop.it

The Colorado River supports nearly three million people across seven states and Mexico, which is causing it to dwindle in size. The picture shows the rivers where the mighty river used to flow and where the water actually is today.

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Breakdown of the Usage of Water Diverted from the Colorado River

Breakdown of the Usage of Water Diverted from the Colorado River | Human Impact in the Colorado River | Scoop.it

This pie graph shows how the water that is diverted from the Colorado River is used. This graph makes it clear that the majority of the water goes to agriculture, either in the form of irrigation or for use by livestock.

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My Scoop on Human Impacts on the Colorado River

The Colorado River is the fifth longest river in the United States and it is vitally important because of its many uses. It is used largely for agriculture and industrialization. Farms use the diverted water to grow plants, hydrate their livestock, and clean their buildings. Industries use the water to aid in production of goods, clean their facilities, as well as hydrate their employees. The Hoover Dam, as well as other dams, are also important human uses for the Colorado River because they are used to create hydroelectric power when water flows through the dam. The power that is created is then used to power the factories that already rely on the river's water. Some of the hydroelectric power is also used to power the homes of people who live in that general area. Another major drain on the Colorado River is that cities, such as Las Vegas, have been built in the middle deserts and therefore depend almost, if not entirely, on water from the Colorado River.

 

The Colorado River is used to provide seven states in the United States with the water and energy they need. However, the huge drain on the river can be easily seen, especially where the river used to end. Where the river used to end  is now a barren desert because so much water has been redirected away from it. The heavy usage of the river has called into question the issue of ownership of water. This is because the Colorado River flows for over one thousand five hundred miles, through several states, and even into Mexico. No one is really sure who has the right to take soo much from the river because it creates negative effects further down the river, where other people depend on the river as well.

 

Not only has the use of the Colorado River caused it to dry up where it once flowed in abundance, but now the levels of water in resovoirs, made by dams, are starting to show a significant drop. This drop in the water level is thought to be the result of increased use of the river, as well as the fact that over the last decadethe river has run low due to drought. Since 2000, the water level of Lake Mead, which is formed by the Hoover Dam, has dropped 130 feet. Some water resource officials say that the resovoirs that are fed by the river will never be full again. Not only is this a problem but geoscientist Brad Udall says that climate change along the Colorado River will likely decrease the flow of the river by five to twenty percent over the next forty years. It is also believed that other large rivers on other continents will experience similar conditions in upcoming years. Which will be a problem because it will leave less availible freshwater in the world and the population is expected to continue growing up until it hits nine billion people. If the availibility of freshwater drops and the population grows, many experts believe that the planet will not have enough water to support the human population, let alone the many other organisms that we share this planet with. Humans will need to begin to use less water and use more water efficient technology or in the near future we will demand more water than the planet can supply and that will lead to many more problems.

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The Colorado River Runs Dry

The Colorado River Runs Dry | Human Impact in the Colorado River | Scoop.it

This article states that for six million years the Colorado River channeled water south for nealy 1,500 miles from the Rocky Mountains to Mexico and into the Gulf of California. However, since building dams and diverting the flow of the river in the 1920s, it now serves 30 million people in seven U.S. states and Mexico. These dams are helpful to the surrounding people but it is having an adverse effect on the structure of the river. Drought is a huge problem now and the surrounding rock walls show distinct lines where the water level used to reach. Since the year 2000, the water level has dropped nearly 130 feet.

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Colorado River Water Level Drops

Colorado River Water Level Drops | Human Impact in the Colorado River | Scoop.it

Due to dams and the diverting flow of the river, the water level has dropped severely. As you can see in the picture, there are now distinct lines on the surrounding rock formations showing the water levels of previous years.

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Economic Consequences of the Colorado River Degradation

Economic Consequences of the Colorado River Degradation | Human Impact in the Colorado River | Scoop.it

This article states that if the Colorado River continues to be overused and mistreated then life for everyone who relies it will be much harder. As problems with the depleting water source continues, so does the debate on who owns the river, who will be able to use the water, and for what purposes. With the increasing price of the water, in the near fututre, hot showers will be a luxury, agriculture will have to adapt to using less water, and the industries will be forced to completly change the way they mine for goods along the Colorado River.

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Colorado River Water Uses

Colorado River Water Uses | Human Impact in the Colorado River | Scoop.it

This article explains the many different uses for the Colorado River. Whether for domestic, industrial, or recreational purposes, this river is benificial to the environment and well-being of the people. The domestic uses of the river include showers, meals, hydration, healthy lawns, and electricity (power generated from dams) for the surrounding residents. Farms need the water for plants and live stock. Industrial plants use the water to aid with production and clean their facilities. For recreation purposes, the river provides enough space to enjoy activities such as boating, canoeing, kayaking, and white water rafting.

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