Colorado River

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The Colorado River is one of the longest rivers in the United States, at about 1450 mi (2330 km) long, and flows from the Rocky Mountains of northern Colorado, just west of the Continental Divide, then primarily southwest through Colorado, Utah, and Arizona, then flows along the border between Nevada and Arizona, and Arizona and California; and continues through Mexico, emptying into the Gulf of California. It passes through several Lakes and dams, most notably Glen Canyon Dam and Hoover Dam,[1] and also runs through the Grand Canyon.[2]

Due in part to cannabis water theft, the Colorado River is drying up. Colorado River negotiations led by the Biden Administration failed in December 2022, as the seven affected southwestern states failed to agree to reductions in usage.[3] California insists on continuing to hog more than its share would be under an equally divided allocation based on updated population and usage demands, as reported by the Los Angeles Times on February 2, 2023:

California appears to be banking on its high-priority senior water rights, while the other states are presenting a united front to show the federal government they support a plan that would have California give up more water. ... [T]he proposal submitted by Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming ... would translate into especially large reductions for California, which uses the largest share of the river.[4]

The Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner announced in June 2022 that the Colorado River "basin required 2 to 4 million acre-feet in conservation in 2023 to stabilize the river’s largest reservoirs."[5] The federal government is putting pressure on states, particularly Arizona and perhaps California, to conserve more. The federal government demands more accounting by the states of evaporation and "system losses," a chunk of which may be due to excessive cannabis water use.

2022 Drought

In August 2022, for the first time a "Tier 2" shortage was declared for the first time.[6] As a result releases from the "Glen Canyon and Hoover Dams, which created Lakes Powell and Mead, will be reduced again in 2023 due to declining reservoir levels."[6]

Water flow

The water flow of the Colorado River can be 800 million gallons per hour. Roughly 40 million people, including 90% of the water needs of Las Vegas (which also gets its other 10% from groundwater[7]), depend on the Colorado River.

Colorado River is "the country's largest source of fresh water serving 40 million people and supporting $1.4 trillion in annual economic activity, is no longer sufficient."[8]

Water allocation

Nevada is allowed to consume 300,000 acre-feet of water per year. As one acre-foot is 325,851 gallons, this totals about 100 billion gallons of water annually.[7]


Merely one cannabis plant consumes nearly 1000 gallons of water annually.[9]

Illegal aliens

The influx of perhaps ten million illegal aliens into the southwest has greatly burdened the water shortage there.

Old name

The Colorado River used to be called the "Grand River,"[10] until 1921, when it got its current name.[11] Because it flowed through the Grand Canyon, it also gave the name "Grand" to several other towns, including Grand Junction and Grand County, Colorado.

External links


  6. 6.0 6.1
  7. 7.0 7.1
  10. Map from 1872 showing the "Grand River" in Colorado