Tonight! Colorado River and Climate: Perfect Storm for the 21st Century?

Join the State of the Rockies Project tonight for our fourth Speakers Series event of the year as we host a panel on- The Colorado River Basin and Climate: Perfect Storm for the 21st Century? The talk will be held at 7pm in the Gates Common Room of Palmer Hall on the Colorado College campus.

The Colorado River Basin is at the nexus of environmental and demographic pressures that will converge in the 21st century; what will the result be? The region’s projected population growth means increased water demand on the Colorado River from municipalities, industry, agriculture and recreation.  International and federal agencies from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to the Bureau of Reclamation have predicted a significant decrease in water availability throughout the Basin due to a changing climate.  Some expert studies predict that by 2050 the river system will not be able to supply all of its allocated shares two-thirds to nine-tenths of the time. Furthermore, the Basin’s diverse geographic attributes from the headwaters high in the peaks of the Rockies to the arid deserts of the American Southwest make it difficult to predict the impacts of a changing climate. How are future generations of Colorado River water users going to cope with these changes? What can the current water managers of the Basin do to prepare for a changing climate? Different proposals have been made from adapting to the changing climate through measures like increased water efficiency to augmenting water supplies from other river basins.  What will the projected climate of the Colorado River Basin look like and what are the possibilities for addressing the water needs for the future?

For the fourth State of the Rockies Project Speakers Series event of the year, the Project will be hosting a panel on: The Colorado River Basin and Climate- Perfect Storm for the 21st Century? The panel will consist of three experts dealing directly with climate change in the Basin. Beth Conover will be the moderator for the evening’s event. Beth is a Colorado native and has spent much of her education and career in the environmental field. This includes being the editor of the recently published book How the West Was Warmed, as well as being the founding partner of the consulting firm Econover LLC.  Stephen Saunders is the Founder and President of the Rocky Mountain Climate Organization, which works to protect the West and its climate by bringing about action to reduce heat-trapping pollution and to prepare for the impacts of a disrupted climate. He has spent much of his career in government addressing environmental issues. Jeff Lukas is an Associate Scientist for the Western Water Assessment. Jeff’s research focuses are climate variability and climate change in the interior West and their impacts on human activities and ecosystems, extraction of multi-century climate records from long-lived conifers, and the application of tree-ring data to water resource management.

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