How the West’s Energy Boom Could Threaten Drinking Water for 1 in 12 Americans

The Colorado River, the life vein of the Southwestern United States, is in trouble.

The river’s water is hoarded the moment it trickles out of the mountains of Wyoming and Colorado and begins its 1,450-mile journey to Mexico’s border. It runs south through seven states and the Grand Canyon, delivering water to Phoenix, Los Angeles and San Diego. Along the way, it powers homes for 3 million people, nourishes 15 percent of the nation’s crops and provides drinking water to one in 12 Americans.

Now a rush to develop domestic oil, gas and uranium deposits along the river and its tributaries threatens its future.

The region could contain more oil than Alaska’s National Arctic Wildlife Refuge. It has the richest natural gas fields in the country. And nuclear energy, viewed as a key solution to the nation’s dependence on foreign energy, could use the uranium deposits held there.

But getting those resources would suck up vast quantities of the river’s water and could pollute what is left. That’s why those most concerned are water managers in places like Los Angeles and San Diego. They have the most to lose.

The river is already so beleaguered by drought and climate change that one environmental study called it the nation’s “most endangered” waterway. Researchers from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography warn the river’s reservoirs could dry up in 13 years.

The industrial push has already begun.

In the eight years George W. Bush has been in office, the Colorado River watershed has seen more oil and gas drilling than at any time in the past 25 years. Uranium claims have reached a 10-year high. Last week the departing administration auctioned off an additional 148,598 acres of federal land for gas drilling projects outside Moab, Utah.

Article here.

Advertisements

Tags: , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: