This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
The Bureau of Reclamation recently released its long-awaited study of the future of the Colorado River Basin. Not surprisingly, the study finds a significant gap between what the river can deliver and demand for water.
In an extensive discussion of supply scenarios and future demand, the report makes a brief reference to the "negative implications" the shortages will have on "boating recreation and river ecology." But after acknowledging that, the report fails to analyze just how damaging those shortages will be.
There are seven national wildlife refuges, four national recreation areas and 11 national parks in the basin. None of them can exist, and meet the mission for which they were created, without an adequate supply of water.
These parks and refuges are at the core of our economic and social well-being. They create thousands of jobs, generate billions in revenue, provide the world's greatest playground for our families, and help us draw educated, successful people to the region. Any future water demand analysis must include specific measures to provide an adequate water supply for these lands.
If we dry up our rivers, we destroy our quality of life. That is no way to solve our water problems.