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An analysis of alternatives for water distribution between municipal and agricultural users of Colorado River water

by Hardin, Sally


The Colorado River is often referred to as the “lifeblood” of the American Southwest, as it sustains rapidly growing cities, feeds millions of agricultural acres, and forms some of the world’s most incredible natural features. The Colorado River is also one of the most highly dammed, diverted, and otherwise regulated rivers in the world. In the last few decades, the demands on the flows of this river have begun to exceed its supply, which is threatened not merely by over-allocation but also by drought and climatic uncertainties. The river’s dwindling supplies are no longer enough to support the Southwest’s rapid population growth in municipal areas while simultaneously answering to the demands of the more senior water rights holders, the agriculturalists. This thesis is an exploration of the current contentions between agricultural and municipal users of Colorado River water, with a focus on the alternatives available to address these ongoing issues. Of many options, including increased infrastructure and various conservation measures, water banking has been identified as the strategy most socially, economically, and environmentally qualified to address these pervasive imbalances in water supply and demand of the Colorado River.


Includes bibliographical references.

Administrative Notes


Copyright restrictions apply.
Colorado College
Digital Origin
born digital
71 pages : illustrations (some color), color maps
Senior Thesis -- Colorado College
Thesis Advisor
Kannan, Phil
Environmental Program
Degree Name
Degree Type
Bachelor of Arts
Degree Grantor
Colorado College
Date Issued