Colorado River Water Use
Energy production from coal is on a downward trajectory, and many coal power plants and mines are expected to cease operations in the next two decades. As a result, communities whose economies are centered on coal are vulnerable to disruption. By the same token, the closure of coal mines and coal power plants may free up water supplies and create opportunities for sustainable economic development based on those supplies.
The Just Energy Transition Center at Arizona State University Lightworks and ASU’s Kyl Center for Water Policy at Morrison Institute inventoried the water used for coal power plants and mines within the Colorado River Basin. This first-of-its-kind research summarizes findings from extensive research to identify and describe the amount, source, and ownership of water rights used by coal-fired power plants and coal mines throughout the Colorado River Basin. The report is intended to help policymakers and community stakeholders impacted by the closure of coal-fired power plants and coal mines in the Colorado River Basin understand the water resources implications and opportunities to inform decision-making about the future use of those resources, GRS helped develop the geospatial data for this project, created static and interactive maps, and created a StoryMap to convey the findings of this research to the general public.