Climate change forces new water strategies for Colorado River basin

Western Progress, a regional policy organization, released a policy brief challenging members of the Colorado River Water Users Association to pursue water supply strategies that emphasize conservation, energy efficiency, and protection of living rivers and groundwater reserves. Pointing out that "we won't build our way out of this crisis," the brief summarizes the twin challenges of rapid population growth and declining water supplies in the Colorado River basin...

• Western Progress calls for sustainable policies to address Colorado River water challenges

PHOENIX, AZ, Dec. 10, 2007 -- Western Progress, a regional policy organization, released a policy brief today challenging members of the Colorado River Water Users Association to pursue water supply strategies that emphasize conservation, energy efficiency, and protection of living rivers and groundwater reserves. Pointing out that "we won't build our way out of this crisis," the brief summarizes the twin challenges of rapid population growth and declining water supplies in the Colorado River basin. The water users will gather for their annual meeting in Las Vegas on Dec. 12-14, where they will discuss the regional impacts of global climate change.

"We urge water leaders to think beyond yesterday's toolbox in the rush to respond to climate change," said Sarah Bates Van de Wetering, the Policy and Outreach Deputy for Western Progress and a noted water expert, "the Colorado River Water Users Association should advance more sustainable solutions that position us for prosperity rather than disaster."

The Rocky Mountain region, already noted for the ferocity of its interstate water battles, was identified by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change as one of most vulnerable parts of the country to future water shortages due to climate change and variability. These changes are already underway, notes Western Progress, with declining snowpacks, earlier spring runoffs, and record high temperatures. The policy brief outlines broad principles for sustainable water strategies and includes pertinent facts on growth, climate change, and water resources in the Colorado River Basin.

Western Progress is an independent, non-partisan public policy institute dedicated to advancing progressive policy solutions in the eight states of the Rocky Mountain West.

To read the full policy brief, visit: http://www.westernprogress.org

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