For more than two decades American Rivers has released its annual list of America’s Most Endangered Rivers. American Rivers released the 2013 list today, and the river at the top—the most endangered river in the nation—is the mighty Colorado.
As Americans we are lucky to have this river in our proverbial backyard. But our demands on the river’s water now far exceed its supply, leaving the river so over-tapped that it no longer flows to the sea. A century of water management policies and practices promoting wasteful water use have put the river at a critical crossroads.
The Colorado River from the book "Chasing Water". Photo by Pete McBride
Last year, we watched photojournalist Pete McBride‘s film Chasing Water at 5Point Film Festival. We always had an idea of the dire straits on the Colorado River, but the images in the film and accompanying book made it impossible to forget. Our mighty Colorado River that cut the Grand Canyon, that flows powerfully through the western states has been pushed, pulled and sucked dry — so much that it rarely reaches the ocean.
The Colorado River. The American Nile. Anyone who has ever rafted the Grand Canyon knows how immense, powerful and beautiful this river is. It’s power and size make it hard to believe that today, the Colorado River no longer reaches the sea because of upstream diversions and dams.