A Year Without the Colorado River, as Seen by Economists

The Los Angeles skyline against the San Gabriel Mountains.  If the Colorado River suddenly disappeared, seven counties in southern California would lose $657 billion in a year.  Photo: Nserrano/Creative Commons
The Los Angeles skyline against the San Gabriel Mountains. If the Colorado River suddenly disappeared, seven counties in southern California would lose $657 billion in a year. Photo: Nserrano/Creative Commons

Imagine if each tap that delivered water from the Colorado River – whether to a farm, a factory, or a home – suddenly went dry for a year. What would happen to the West’s economy?

That’s pretty much the question a team of researchers at Arizona State University set out to answer – and the results are startling.

The region would lose $1.4 trillion – that’s trillion, with a “t” – in economic activity, along with 16 million jobs.

Each of the six states – Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming – plus seven southern California counties supplied by the Colorado River would see losses to their gross state product (GSP) of half or more. Nevada’s would drop by 87 percent.

Commissioned by Protect the Flows, a coalition of over 1,000 businesses, the study reveals how crucial the Colorado River is not only to these seven states that make up the watershed, but also to the nation as a whole.

Of all the water used in the basin, 43% of agriculture’s —> Read More Here

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