Bureau of Reclamation studies lower Rio Grande River basin

Dec. 19, 2013

WASHINGTON — The study predicted a shortfall of 678,522 acre-feet of water per year by 2060, due in part to climate change.

WASHINGTON — A Bureau of Reclamation study of the Lower Rio Grande Basin found that climate change and increased demand will cause a shortfall of 678,522 acre-feet of water per year by 2060, according to an article on redOrbit.com.

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The study evaluated the impacts of climate change on water demand and supply imbalances along the Rio Grande on the United States/Mexico border from Fort Quitman, Texas to the Gulf of Mexico, the article reported.

"Basin studies are an important element of the Department of the Interior’s WaterSMART initiative and give us a clearer picture of the possible future gaps between water demand and our available supplies,” said Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Michael L. Connor. “This study of the lower Rio Grande basin will provide water managers with science-based tools to make important future decisions as they work to meet the region’s diverse water needs. In addition, the study will help inform water management discussions between the U.S. and Mexico through the International Boundary Water Commission.”

The study found that increased temperatures, decreased precipitation and increased evapotranspiration from climate change will make it necessary for 86,438 acre-feet of water per year to be added, the article noted.

According to the article, seawater desalination, brackish groundwater desalination, reuse and fresh groundwater development were all examined as alternatives to meet future water demands.

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Read the full article here.