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Protect the Flows


The economic future of the west is tied to a Colorado River that flows strong and beckons people to communities along its banks for recreation and tourism. The Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce is affiliated with Protect the Flows-a coalition of nearly 500 businesses operating in communities along the Colorado River from Wyoming to Arizona. Water flows into the Colorado River as snow in the Rocky Mountains melts, and water flows out of the River to supply drinking water and irrigate our crops. More water leaves the Colorado River than enters it each year because of chronic drought, population growth, energy development and climate change.

This balance sheet is unsustainable.

If we stay on our current course, the Colorado River will slow to a trickle. Fish won’t be beckoning anglers to book a weekend trip. Rafters won’t show up to brave the rapids. Hikers and scenery seekers will go elsewhere. Local communities will become a less attractive place to live.

The Colorado River supports a quarter million jobs and produces $26 billion in economic output, drawing revenue from the 5.36 million adults who use the Colorado River for recreational activities each year. They come for picnicking, trail activities, wildlife watching, camping, fishing, water sports, bicycling, snow sports, and hunting. These seemingly simple outdoor activities are major economic drivers fueling a multi-billion dollar recreation industry, and pouring millions of dollars into local businesses and state treasuries. Read our report: Colorado, Inc: The $26 billion Recreation Resource Employing a Quarter Million Americans.

In Arizona alone the Colorado River supplies drinking water for 6.6 million people, constitutes 85% of the irrigation for agriculture in our state, and provides 82,000 jobs associated with recreation and tourism. For futher data on the Economic impact of the Colorado River in Arizona please check this link to the Southwick and Associates report: http://protectflows.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/PTF-Fact-Sheet-Arizona2.pdf.

For the Full Report visit: http://protectflows.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/Colorado-
River-Recreational-Economic-Impacts-Southwick-Associates-5-3-12_2.pdf.