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Colorado River Quiz

23 Jun 2023 12:07 PM | Natalie Love (Administrator)

Welcome Wonderful Blog Readers!

It’s time to test your knowledge about the Colorado River and its effect on the American Southwest.

Amid the news earlier this year of the extreme droughts in Colorado, Nevada, Arizona, and California, I recently read that Lake Oroville, California’s second largest reservoir is back at 100% capacity after heavy snows and rains. And this is less than two years after

the lake was so low that a hydroelectric plant there had to shut down due to low levels (1).

However, despite large rainfalls and snow melt in the Colorado River basin, Lake Mead is still lower than any other recent year except 2022 and is 174 feet below full and only 105 feet above deadpool, the level where water will no longer flow by gravity through the Hoover Dam (2). Lake Powell is up 55 feet in the last 2 months (3); it is 200 feet above deadpool and about 125 feet below full. (3)

Recent increases in water in the Colorado River drainage and in other areas in the Southwest are great news! However, long term management of Colorado River water remains a huge challenge.

The Colorado River is key to almost all water issues in the American Southwest. Here is your chance to test your knowledge of the Colorado River. Test your best answers against the answer key at the end.

1.       The Colorado River begins in ________and ends in__________ (4)?

a.       Rocky Mountain National Park, the Gulf of California

b.       Lake Dillon, the Pacific Ocean

c.       Lake Powell, Lake Mead

d.       Lake Itaska, the Gulf of Mexico

2.       The Colorado River provides water for how many people (5)?

a.       6.0221415 X 1023

b.       Billions upon billions

c.       40 million

d.       99 million

3.       What is the largest reservoir in America by volume (6)?

a.       Lake Powell, AZ

b.       Lake Shasta, CA

c.       Flaming Gorge Reservoir, WY and UT

d.       Lake Mead, NV

4.       The Colorado Rivers irrigates __________ acres of land (5).

a.       100 million

b.       100, 000

c.       5.7 million

d.       More than a bundle, but less than a grip

5.       How much of the Colorado River water is used for irrigation (5)?

a.        37%

b.       1,000,000 %

c.       Less than 12 parsecs

d.       80%

6.       The amount of Colorado River water for all uses breaks down how (7)?

a.       10% livestock feed, 27% other agriculture, 56% residential, 7% industrial

b.       1% livestock feed, 90% winter vegetables, 6% residential, 3% other

c.       13% political infighting, 32% swimming pools, 55% keep the oceans full

d.       56% livestock feed, 24% other crops, 12% residential, 8% power and industrial

7.       Which plan below for augmenting Colorado River water has been studied by the Federal Government (8)?

a.       Trucking in ice from Alaskan glaciers using a group of 220 specially equipped trucks that continuously drive between Alaska and Lake Powell.

b.       Carve off ice from the polar ice caps on Mars using lasers and tow it back to earth using unmanned spaceships.

c.       Pipe water from the Mississippi delta using 88 foot diameter pipes to cover the 1500 mile distance and over 1 mile elevation gain.

d.       Cover stretches of the Colorado River with special tarps that reduce losses from evaporation by 63-79%.

Answer key:

1.       a.

2.       c.

3.       d.

4.       c.

5.       d.

6.       d.

7.       c.

These references below are interesting reads/facts about the Colorado River and water in the West:

(1)    https://amp.cnn.com/cnn/2023/06/14/us/lake-oroville-california-drought-climate/index.html

(2)    https://mead.uslakes.info/level.asp

(3)    https://lakepowell.water-data.com/

(4)    https://water.utah.gov/interstate-streams/colorado-river-story/#:~:text=The%20mighty%20Colorado%20River%20serves,and%20two%20states%20in%20Mexico.

(5)    https://farmland.org/colorado-river-challenges-pose-risks-to-western-agriculture/#:~:text=In%20fact%2C%20the%20Colorado%20River,the%20size%20of%20New%20Hampshire.(6)    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_largaest_reservoirs_in_the_United_States

(7)    https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2023/05/22/climate/colorado-river-water.html

(8)    https://apnews.com/article/science-arizona-state-government-california-disaster-planning-and-response-automated-insights-earnings-be28e7e022007c82cdee63ca2b9ed555

Rich MacAlpine is a volunteer member of the RMWQAA Board and would love to see everyone at the July 27 RMWQAA social!

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