A new, high-profile report was recently released by the National Academies of Science about water management in the Colorado River Basin. The report, Colorado River Basin Water Management: Evaluating and Adjusting to Hydroclimatic Variability, warns that if current trends continue, shortages and low streamflow will become the norm. The study shows that average flow has historically fluctuated more than previously thought, throwing the current water allocation scheme into question. Also, evidence suggests that warmer temperatures in the future will reduce streamflow and water supplies through reduced snowpack and increased evaporation. According to In Focus magazine, the new data are prompting discussion among water managers in many arid parts of the western US where the Colorado River is the main source of surface water. You can find the complete In Focus article at http://infocusmagazine.org/7.1/env_colorado_river.html.
Rapid population growth in the region has led to sharply rising demand for water. The report warns that technology and conservation will not provide a panacea for coping with water shortages in the long run. Do you agree? What strategies should be employed? How do transfers of water rights from agricultural to municipal uses figure into the equation? What can New Jersey learn from this report?