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Colorado River Basin Supply vs. Use

An emerging new reality in the Colorado River Basin has both scientists and water mangers concerned about the future. It is unfolding thanks to ever-increasing demand for the Colorado’s water, combined with drought — which may become more frequent and severe in the future thanks to climate change from human activities. And so without long-term changes to water use, the challenge of matching supply and demand in an increasingly parched region will only grow more acute.

Read Climate Central's two-part series on the Colorado River Basin and the impact of a mulit-year drought on the region.

This graphic, which appears in part one of the series, depicts the central conundrum facing water managers and residents of the Southwest — the demand for water from the Colorado River Basin has recently outstripped supply.

The data for this graph comes from the Bureau of Reclamation, which is part of the Interior Department.