Arizona State University has an extensive roster of water policy, agriculture, climate and hydrology experts who can provide insight on the forthcoming Colorado River water cuts to be announced by the Federal Bureau of Reclamation around August 15.
Expert profiles, along with information relevant to each professor's specific areas of expertise, can be accessed via links provided in the roster, below.
- ASU Kyl Center for Water Policy, Director
- Expertise: Arizona and regional water issues, state implications, water policy, natural resources, sustainability, solutions
“There just isn't any way to get to the kinds of reduction in Colorado river water use that we need to get to without significantly impacting the amount of water that goes to agriculture.”
- School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment/ School of Earth and Space Exploration, Professor
- Expertise: water, climate and ecosystem processes, hydrological modeling, and sustainability management
“This is a system where historically decisions were made based on limited records and insufficient knowledge, and those decisions have constrained the operation of the Colorado River system for a hundred years.”
- Global Institute of Sustainability and Innovation
- Expertise: sustainability, environmental policy and climate change futures
“It's really a set of complex interrelated challenges that we're facing, and thus, it's going to require a set of interrelated and complex solutions that draw on innovations in governance, innovations in technology, leadership and consensus among the diverse set of stakeholders across the state.”
- School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment
- Expertise: Food production and water conflict, human-needs and the environment; sustainable agriculture advancements
“Agriculture has one of the biggest footprints whether you’re talking about land use, water use, energy use, greenhouse gas emissions, etc. No matter what environmental aspect you’re interested in, you have to have interest in the food system.”
- School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning, Professor
- Expertise: climate change's implications for river flows, climate dynamics, human-environment interactions
“We're calculating where the water is coming from when it rains over the Salt Verde watersheds. Our modeling allows us to hop on a little molecule of water vapor and we can calculate the percentage of the rain that falls here during strong seasons, from the south Pacific, the west Pacific and the Northwest.”
The United States' two largest reservoirs, Lake Mead and Lake Powell – water sources that serve 40 million people across seven states and part of Mexico – have reached historic lows. In June, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation's chief, Camille Touton announced that the seven states that rely on the Colorado River’s water need to make a deal by mid-August to reduce use by between 2 million and 4 million acre-feet of water during the next year or the federal government will step in and dictate the cuts itself. According to federal records, that amounts to as much as 25% of water allocated to the states.
The Federal Bureau of Reclamation is scheduled to release its “24-month study” that announces how much water Lake Powell and Lake Mead will release in 2023 which aligns with the deadline for the cuts around August 15.
ASU has researchers across several departments that have a range of expertise that can add context to what these cuts might mean and how they will impact communities throughout the state, the agriculture industry, as well as what it means for the future of water resilience in Arizona. Researchers can also speak to ongoing NSF-funded ASU research that aims to predict and model future Colorado river water inflows based on snowpack data and satellite imagery.