One of the things we do with Colorado River water is grow durum wheat in the Gila River Valley. Durum is used to make pasta. Here in the valley around Yuma, where the Gila River meets the Colorado in Arizona’s southwestern corner, durum is planted as a cover crop in spring on land that derives its primary income from winter vegetables.
The growth of a winter vegetable agricultural base here over the last four decades has been extraordinarily lucrative, and it also uses less water than the old days when they irrigated cotton and alfalfa during the crucible that is summer in the Lower Colorado River desert. Total annual water use here is about 20 percent less than it was in the 1970s, when the shift to winter lettuce began. (The Yuma County Agriculture Water Coalition has much more background on water use here, including an interesting report arguing the case for the efficiency of their water use.)
Most U.S. durum wheat is grown in North Dakota, with California, Arizona and Montana also contributing. (source pdf)