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The Colorado River: The Years of Living Dangerously

Author: Amy Juhnke | Image: Amy Juhnke

Anne Castle served as assistant secretary for water and science in the U.S. Department of the Interior from 2009 to 2014. She is currently a senior fellow at the Getches-Wilkinson Center for Natural Resources, Energy and the Environment, part of the University of Colorado Boulder School of Law, and will discuss current efforts to create a more sustainable Colorado River system, including the groundbreaking engagement with Mexico to protect and restore this shared resource. A 1981 alumna of Colorado Law, Castle has worked on water law and policy since the beginning of her career. While at the Interior Department, she oversaw the Bureau of Reclamation, the nation’s largest water wholesaler, and the U.S. Geological Survey. Sponsored by the Ronald Lecture Series in Environmental Conservation. Cosponsors include the Department of Geological & Atmospheric Sciences, LAS, and Committee on Lectures (funded by Student Government).

The Colorado River has always been known for its superlatives – the hardest working river in United States, the most iconic landscapes in the West, and now, one of our resources most threatened by climate change. Growing population, increasing temperature, and decreased run-off have already created a supply/demand imbalance and further pressures are anticipated. This a pivotal time for the river and those who use its water. How do we deal with decreased supplies when the water is already over-subscribed, and how can we provide water to sustain people and agriculture while restoring some of the river’s natural values? States, cities, the federal government, and other stakeholders are all striving for solutions.