Water to Supply the Land: Irrigated Agriculture in the Colorado River Basin

Published: May 2013
Authors: Michael Cohen, Juliet Christian-Smith, and John Berggren
Pages: 93

Full Report
Executive Summary


Water is scarce in the Colorado River Basin, and the effects of climate change are straining the overspent water supply. Demands on the river already exceed the river’s average supply. This is the first report to describe the extent of irrigation in the basin, which consumes roughly 70% of the basin’s water supply. The report compares several agricultural management scenarios and the potential water savings and costs associated with each, without removing agricultural land from production.

This report is part of a series launched in 2012 identifying the key outstanding issues for desalination in the state: cost and financing; energy use and associated greenhouse gas emissions; and marine impacts.