A sign on Lake Mead along the Colorado River in Boulder City, Nevada indicates the lake’s water line in 2000 in contrast to 2023 low water levels due to the western drought.  Credit: Patrick T. Fallon / AFP / Getty 

As the dwindling Colorado River faces a potential “catastrophic collapse” due to the climate-driven loss of trillions of gallons of water, a report published Tuesday shines a spotlight on the dangerous overexploitation of the precious resource by specific sectors of industrial agriculture—and the federal government’s failure to address Big Ag’s abuses.

The Food & Water Watch report—entitledBig Ag Is Draining the Colorado River Dry—focuses on how “alfalfa farms and the aggressive proliferation of megadairies” are “sucking the Colorado dry,” and on “prolonged governmental refusal to rein in the most egregious offenders.”

According to the report, “livestock feed crops remain the largest consumers of water in the Colorado River Basin, accounting for 55% of all water used.” Among these, alfalfa “consumed 2.2 trillion gallons of water across the seven basin states in […]

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