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Report Finds Westerners Getting Wiser With Water

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A new report by a California water think-tank reveals that water users in the seven-state Colorado River basin are getting more efficient and consuming less water.  But the study by the Pacific Institute also notes that in the long-term, demand will still out-strip supply in the arid region.The Oakland-based Pacific Institute’s Senior Associate Michael Cohen studied water use among 100 cities and agencies, including large Colorado players such as Denver Water.  The Southwest’s population grew by nearly 10 million people since 1990. But Cohen found that new federal and local water efficiency regulations and an increased awareness about water scarcity led to a surprising trend.


"The interesting take-away from that is that water deliveries have not kept pace with population, which is a huge improvement," Cohen said.  "Water use has become much more efficient in these cities." 

In Colorado, the report found that the city of Greeley is using 42% less water than it did in 1990, Fort Collins 33% less and water consumption in Denver and Boulder was cut by about 20%.

But Cohen cautioned there are still major problems looming in the long run since demand for water is still forecast to far-outstrip supply in the coming years. 

Kirk Siegler reports for NPR, based out of NPR West in California.
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