Missing Water: Report and Article Examine Water in the Colorado River Delta

Published: September 2001
Authors: Michael Cohen, Christine Henges-Jeck
Pages: 54

The Pacific Institute for Studies in Development, Environment, and Security is pleased to announce the release of Missing Water: The Uses and Flows of Water in the Colorado River Delta Region. This new study describes the fate of the millions of acre-feet of water diverted from the Colorado River at and below Imperial Dam, and the total inflows to and outflows from the Colorado River delta region more generally.

This study uses the classic hydrologic boundaries of the delta region described by Godfrey Sykes in 1937, encompassing some 3,325 square miles (8,611 square kilometers) in the states of Arizona, Baja California, California, and Sonora, including the Imperial, Mexicali, and San Luis valleys, Yuma Project lands, and the lower Coachella Valley. The study period examines the flows and uses of water in the years 1991-1998, divided into Flood and Non-Flood years to reflect the tremendous variability of mainstem Colorado River flows.

Missing Water compiles flow data along the mainstem and along diversions within the delta region, the first time such data has been compiled for the region as a whole. The study also report consumptive uses of water in the agricultural and urban sectors, and estimates such use by the environment. Agricultural use is also reported for the major crops in the region, both by acreage and by water use.

More Detail on Remnant Delta in Mexico

Also available is an article published in the the Journal of Arid Environments, which provides a more detailed analysis of the flows of water within the remnant portion of the delta in Mexico.

MJ Cohen, C Henges-Jeck, and G Castillo-Moreno. 2001. A preliminary water balance for the Colorado River delta, 1992-1998. Journal
of Arid Environments 49:35-48. (PDF)

The Sustainable Use of Water in the Lower Colorado River Basin