The incredible shrinking Colorado River

Climate change and rising demand are sucking the life out of the Southwest’s water supply.

One of the most visible signs of the state of the West’s water supply is the big bathtub ring around the sandstone rim of Lake Powell, the nation’s second-largest reservoir. Whenever the massive hydrological system that delivers water to the lake dwindles, the whitewash halo grows, shrinking only when — or rather, if — that system is replenished by rain and winter snows.



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High Country News

Working to inform and inspire people — through in-depth journalism — to act on behalf of the West’s diverse natural and human communities.