Briefly: More than half of Colorado River water used for agriculture

ABC News reports on new Colorado River research, which found that irrigation for agriculture is responsible for 74% of direct human usage and 52% of overall water consumption of the Colorado River. Of that water, two crops used for cattle feed — alfalfa and grass hay — use 1/3 of all the Colorado River’s water. The study published in the journal Communications Earth & Environment examined both human usage and natural losses over the Colorado River’s nearly 1,500-mile length, based on average annual water use and water losses between 2000 and 2019. The findings could inform ongoing discussions on the Colorado River as water users negotiate updates to legal agreements that govern river management.

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