Posted by: wfpdc | September 23, 2011

Water Conservation: The Colorado River Basin

A recent report from the Pacific Institute (Municipal Deliveries on the Colorado River Basin authored by Michael J. Cohen) shows changes in water demands in 100 cities in the US and Mexico who draw their water from the Colorado River basin.

Between 1990 and 2008, population grew by 10 million people, but water usage per person dropped 20% (approximately 1% per year)!

Dr. Peter Glick, President of the Pacific Institute and internationally recognized water expert, analyzes these findings in a short article on Circle of Blue. He notes that small improvements in water conservation or improving the efficiencies of the water delivery system will have significant benefits. If every municipal water authority had experienced small per capita use declines, “total deliveries would have increased by about 300,000 acre-feet instead of 600,000 acre-feet, ” saving another 300,000 acre-feet of water to be used later.

The problems faced by the Colorado River basin remain serious. But the take away? Promoting water conservation at the household level and improving small inefficiencies in municipal water systems does make a difference and should be promoted as strongly and widely as possible.



  1. Since when is water measured in acre-feet? I have enough trouble with gallons and ounces as it is! Can you at least convert it to hogshead-furloughs?

  2. Apparently 1.0 acre foot = 325,851 gallons. It’s an acre foot b/c it’s the amount of water that will cover one acre, 1 foot deep. Tricky calculations! 🙂

    • It comes in acre-feet? I’m getting one!

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