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Can We Operate the Colorado River Differently Amid Climate Change?

The Colorado River watershed faces increasing challenges from chronic water shortage. And it appears increasingly likely this is a new permanent condition, not an episodic drought.

As a result, the many reservoirs built in the watershed – large and small – may have to be operated differently to optimize new precipitation patterns and snowmelt routines. That is a complicated problem, because they are all operated by different entities, with different water demands and unique environmental and flood-control concerns.

But if the 10 million people who depend on the Colorado River are to continue thriving, something’s got to be done.