"BOULDER, Colo. — The Colorado River system -- which 30 million people depend on for drinking and irrigation water -- could fully deplete all of its reservoir storage by the middle of the century, a new University of Colorado study shows.
Under the most drastic climate change scenario, the study shows a 50 percent chance of depletion if current management practices continue while the West warms and the Colorado River dries up. The study is published in the American Geophysical Union journal Water Resources Research.
Lead study author Balaji Rajagopalan, a CU associate professor in civil, environmental and architectural engineering, said the Colorado River system is in its 10th year of drought. The system, which hosts more than a dozen dams along its 1,450-mile stretch from Colorado's Rocky Mountains to the Gulf of California, entered the drought with the reservoirs 95 percent full."