With the Colorado River basin the focus of attention due to drought, overallocation, and impacts of climate change, it makes sense that the first water census in the U.S. since 1978 will be here. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced the project at a meeting in Phoenix of water managers from the seven Colorado River states. The press release said "The study is part of the WaterSMART Water Availability and Use Assessment for the Colorado River Basin. It is planned as a three-year, $1.5 million effort that will provide an inventory of water supply and demand, including water needed to support ecosystems, and report on significant competition over water resources and the factors causing that competition. (The “SMART” in WaterSMART stands for “Sustain and Manage America’s Resources for Tomorrow.”)"
The Secretary also used the occasion to announce that the Department of the Interior chose the University of Arizona as home base for a regional Climate Science Center.
“The consortium headed by the University of Arizona brings a wide range of scientific and impact assessment capabilities to the Southwest Climate Center because it includes institutions located in and familiar with the incredible diversity of ecosystems and human settlements and activities that characterize the U.S. Southwest,” the Secretary noted. The consortium is well versed in issues such as coastal management, drought and its impacts on people and the environment, water management in the Colorado and other Southwest rivers, and the impacts of exploding populations of bark beetles on western forests.