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colorado river restrictions are being enforced as the American West faces unprecedented challenges to preserve water that continues to recede rapidly. | PBS NewsHour Extra | Photo credit: Wolfgang Staudt

August 22, 2022

New Colorado River Water Restrictions Underscore Severity of Climate Crisis

Ask Students: Who is imposing limits on access to water from the Colorado River? Why is rationing water from the river necessary?

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Summary

The federal government on Tuesday announced a second round of water restrictions to states that depend on the Colorado River Basin. The move comes as the American West faces unprecedented challenges to preserve water that continues to recede rapidly. For a transcript of this story, click here.

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Discussion Questions

  • Who is imposing limits on access to water from the Colorado River?
  • Why is rationing water from the river necessary?
  • What states (and what people in them) are most likely to be affected by restrictions?
  • How do government agencies enforce water restrictions?
  • Where will consumers need to use less water to address the current problem, according to guest Jennifer Pitt?

Focus Questions

When a resource as important as water is suddenly unavailable to meet everybody’s needs, who should decide how much is allotted? How do you think it should it be decided? What if different states have competing interests to protect?

Media Literacy: Based on the organization she’s affiliated with, what interests do you think Jennifer Pitt represents?

Additional Resource: International Perspective

Historic droughts are affecting other parts of the world this year as well. Read this article to understand how Europe is dealing with similar struggles with water management: “Italy’s largest lake drops to near-historic low amid extreme drought in Europe.

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A view of Lake Garda in northern Italy in 2018. Photo by Josef Grunig/Flickr

A view of Lake Garda in northern Italy in 2018. Photo by Josef Grunig/Flickr

Republished with permission from PBS NewsHour Classroom.

Lesson Plans on Climate Change

Explore more resources for educators to find a wide-range of relevant preK-12 lessons on climate change or supporting young people as they continue to lead the conversation around the climate change crisis.

PBS NewsHour Classroom helps teachers and students identify the who, what, where and why-it-matters of the major national and international news stories.

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