Some of the best craft beer in the US is produced in the West, in places like Colorado and California. And the craft beer culture in that part of the country is also strong. Many craft brewers, such as Stone Brewing, obtain all of their brewing their water from the Colorado River. So it is a big problem, not just for craft beer but for everyone in the region, that there is a very serious drought in the Colorado River Basin.
According to a press release from the American Geophysical Union:
A new study finds more than 75 percent of the water loss in the drought-stricken Colorado River Basin since late 2004 came from underground resources. The extent of groundwater loss may pose a greater threat to the water supply of the western United States than previously thought.
This study is the first to quantify the amount that groundwater contributes to the water needs of western states. According to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, the federal water management agency, the basin has been suffering from prolonged, severe drought since 2000 and has experienced the driest 14-year period in the last hundred years. The study has been accepted for publication in Geophysical Research Letters, a journal of the American Geophysical Union, which posted the manuscript online today.
According to Stephanie Castle of UC Irvine, “We don’t know exactly how much groundwater we have left, so we don’t know when we’re going to run out. This is a lot of water to lose. We thought that the picture could be pretty bad, but this was shocking.”
It would be devastating to craft brewing in the US if this trend continued, but compared to the other massive problems that lack of water brings, craft beer seems like a smaller issue.