Irrigation has downstream effects on climate and runoff to Colorado River
Farmers in California help make it rain in the American Southwest, a new computer simulation suggests. Water that evaporates from irrigated fields in California’s Central Valley travels to the Four Corners region, where it boosts summer rain and increases runoff to the Colorado River, researchers report online January 12 in Geophysical Research Letters.
This climate link may be crucial to the 40 million people who depend on the Colorado River for drinking water. That number could nearly double in the next 50 years at the same time that droughts are projec