The Colorado, San Joaquin and Rio Grande river basins may see a decrease by eight to fourteen percent over the next 40 years, according to a report released by Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar.
Meant to assess the risks of climate change, the report noted that fluctuations in temperature and precipitation are expected to cause significant changes in the future. Among the projections are temperature increases between 5 and 7 degrees Fahrenheit, and a decrease in snowpack.
Secretary Salazar said the report is meant to provide the starting blocks for strategies geared toward sustainable water resource management.
“Water is the lifeblood of our communities, rural and urban economies, and our environment, and small changes in water supplies or the timing of precipitation can have a big impact on all of us," Secretary Salazar said.
The Associated Press reports that declining water supplies in the West and Southwest are already stressed due to population increases.
Other than Colorado, six states and Mexico depend on the Colorado River for water supply.