"Water Supplies at Risk From Fires in Dead Forests"

"Water supplies for 33 million people could be endangered if millions of acres of beetle-ravaged forests in the Rocky Mountains catch fire, a U.S. Forest Service official said Tuesday.

Rick Cables, the chief forester for the Rocky Mountain region, told a House panel that the headwaters of the Colorado River, an important water source for residents of 13 states, are in the middle of 2.5 million acres of dead or dying forests in Colorado and southern Wyoming. Severe fires, fueled by these trees, could damage or destroy reservoirs, pipes and other infrastructure that supply water to millions of people in the Rocky Mountain region. ...

A Forest Service analysis indicates people in San Diego, Los Angeles, Phoenix, and Tucson, Ariz. who get their tap water from the Colorado River get one quart of every gallon from national forests in the Rocky Mountain region."

Joan Lowy reports for the Associated Press June 18, 2009.

Thursday, June 18, 2009