Almost two-thirds of the contiguous U.S. is beset by abnormally dry conditions. Warm temperatures forecast for the next several months could make it the worst spring drought in almost a decade, affecting roughly 74 million people across the U.S., the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said.
“Climate models project that the American Southwest is very likely to experience more frequent and more severe droughts,” said William Anderegg, a University of Utah biologist and climate scientist. And drought-breaking rainfall will become less frequent.
The Colorado River provides water to more than 40 million people across seven southwestern states, 29 tribal nations and Mexico - and a lot of major cities in those states are heavily dependent on that water. In Las Vegas, 90% of its water supply comes from the river. In Phoenix and Denver it's 50% and in Los Angeles it's 25%.According to a 1922 agreement, each of these seven states have a legal right to a certain amount of the river's water. But this compact was made under the assumption that there was more water than there actually was.
According to the US Drought Monitor, 90 per cent of California is already experiencing drought conditions, and the rest of the American west has been suffering from a "megadrought" since 1999.
xpected snow accumulation in the Sierra Nevada and Cascade mountains was 40 per cent below average levels. ecent reports show that the river's water flows were down 20% in 2000 and by 2050 that number is estimated to more than double, "Things seem to be happening even faster than the models or scientists were warning just a few years ago," says Brad Udall, a water and climate scientist at Colorado State University. "If you're not worried about all this, you're not paying attention."