In the West, Pressure to Account for Water Lost to Evaporation
By SUMAN NAISHADHAM Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) — More than 10% of the water carried by the Colorado River evaporates, leaks or spills as the 1,450-mile powerhouse of the West flows through the region’s dams, reservoirs and open-air canals.
Key stewards of the river have ignored this massive water loss for decades, instead allocating Arizona, California, Nevada and Mexico their share of the river without subtracting what’s lost to evaporation.
Hydrologists, state officials and other western water experts say the 10% can no longer be ignored.
The West’s multi-decade drought has sent water levels in key reservoirs along the river to unprecedented lows.
Officials from Nevada and Arizona say that they and California must account for how much water is actually in the river.
Unlike Arizona, California, Nevada and Mexico, the upriver or Upper Basin states — Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming — already take into account evaporation losses.