Letter | We need better policies regarding Colorado River water
While the passing of the Drought Contingency Plan by the Arizona legislature before the deadline was a step in the right direction for states utilizing the Colorado River and Lake Mead, this doesn’t mean that we have reached a long-term solution that addresses the fundamental issues at play. With seven states drawing from these sources, we are ultimately removing water from them faster than nature can replenish, which will undoubtedly lead to far more severe shortages in the years ahead that future generations will be forced to confront.
As a resident of Nevada, a college student in Arizona, and an intern with climate advocacy group Defend Our Future, I have seen firsthand how long-term drought and the overallocation of Colorado River water have contributed to reduced water levels in Lake Mead. This is starkly illustrated by the clearly visible rings on the sides of the surrounding mountains, creating a devastating image of a once beautiful landscape. Arizona and other states continue to deplete these water sources to provide for their residents and economies, and as such we need strong and effective plans to further conserve water. Without more substantial conservation, including agricultural reductions, we are on an inevitable and frightening path towards extreme shortages.
If we fail to enact more realistic and forward-looking solutions, the lack of water will have a far larger impact on younger generations, like mine, who will have to face the consequences of older generations’ actions. Though difficult sacrifices will have to be made all around, if we act with conviction now, we can hopefully avoid the most dire of consequences. Our elected officials need to do better job of developing policies that effectively address these issues with the future in mind, and it’s our job to let them know we won’t stand for more temporary fixes.