In 2013, the San Luis Valley diverted 100% of the Rio Grand before it reached NM, leaving NM boaters, farmers, and cities hurting for water.
I had to drive through the San Luis Valley to raft the Ark, and saw that alfalfa crops were being sprayed in the wind in the middle of the afternoon. I could see that most of the Rio Grand was evaporating, then Lmyers shared a link to a research paper
published in the 70's showing that yes, most of the Rio Grand is evaporating in the San Luis Valley, overuse is waterlogging and causing the soil to turn alkaline with little of the water actually even growing anything. They've known for a long time and haven't changed a thing.
Then I learned that the majority of the alfalfa was actually being exported to China - here's a recent article I just randomly found on google: U.S. farmers making hay with alfalfa exports to China - LA Times
So, thanks to our water laws, Chinese cows have priority over not only our rivers but even American cities for the dwindling water supply in the Southwest. I can't blame the farmers for selling to the export market if they can get more money, but the system is broken and no one is willing to even consider changing it.
Eating less beef isn't going to change the underlying problem