Change Colorado River water allotments to be percentage-based
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The Colorado River and its tributaries span 8 states and provide water to some of the United States's most prominant metropolitan areas, including Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Denver, and Phoenix among others. The massive populations that inhabit these areas require colossal amounts of water for sustenance.
Water allocation rights along the Colorado River have, since their inception, alotted certain quantities of water to certain individuals, corporations, or municipalities with a basic rule: Those who claimed water first enjoy priority in their alottments over those who claimed water subsequently. For example, if a drought ravaged an area reliant on the Colorado, those at the top of the list would not have to slow their water usage, but would be entitled to their full allowance. Those farther down the list would need to rely on whatever is left over.
This system has caused those worried about water access to find alternative methods of conserving their precious resource, knowing that it is not as dependable as they would like for it to be. This is often not done by reducing consumption, but rather by tapping into other water sources. Water users frequently turn to groundwater as an alternative to river water, rapidly depleting aquifers that take millions of years to replenish.
Additionally, water is commonly trapped and stored or diverted for future use due to fear of possible shortages, so the flow of the river is significantly altered. The Colorado river no longer flows into the Sea of Cortes a it once did. It dries up along the way and what is left of it in Mexico is halted by one last dam.
An easy way to solve these fears of shortages is to restructure water allowances to be in terms of a percentage of the river's flow as opposed to a certain guaranteed sum of water. In years of shortages, everyone is guaranteed some amount of water, and alternative sources can be tapped in time rather than preemptively.
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