More water restrictions likely as California pledges to cut use of Colorado River supply
RENO (Bitterroot Times) — There is already more water in the Colorado River than it can use, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger told a Senate panel Monday.
“We all want a healthy river,” he said. “We need to make sure that we can take advantage of all the water the river offers. But not just the Colorado River basin, not just the Central Valley, but our entire state.”
There are just shy of a week left in the year. More water is likely to run out, the governor said.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (seen in background) told a Senate panel Monday that California needs to make up for water lost to drought. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Image)
“We’re in a very serious water shortage,” Schwarzenegger said.
The governor pledged to work with the federal government and environmentalists to find a solution to the water problem.
As water flows into the Colorado River, and more is diverted to farms, cities and power plants, the river is increasingly limited in its ability to absorb water and release it in times of heavy rain and snow runoff.
That has led to water shortages in parts of California.
“And people are saying, ‘What do we do?’ Well, we’re gonna have to do something. We have to find a way to get the water back to the river.”
Environmentalists have urged a reduction in the amount of water that flows from the rivers into the ground and into the aquifers beneath it.
In other parts of the U.S., there are also shortages, but in California, the shortage is of water in the rivers, and that’s what Schwarzenegger is concerned about.
“We have a very serious water shortage here in California. And our demand for water is growing. I mean, the demand for water is growing by the minute,” Schwarzenegger said on the Senate floors.
The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation says California’s river flows were reduced by more than 20 percent nationwide from the same time period in 2008.
The biggest problem is the amount of water available to California is being reduced, primarily by the diversion of water from the Colorado River Basin, to supply farms, cities and power