The waters of the Colorado River once flowed freely across more than 1,400 miles of North America, tumbling over waterfalls in the snow-covered Rocky Mountains and sweeping through canyons in Arizona, coursing along high plains and deserts before rushing to the Gulf of California in Mexico, where it would nourish the rich wetland ecosystem of the Colorado River Delta.
Over the last decade, our overuse of this mighty river has seen its waters dammed and over-allocated, creating a mudflat rather than a punctuation mark of aquatic biodiversity in the Colorado delta.
“They call the Colorado the ‘mother of rivers,’ because all these rivers flow out of it and none flow into it,” says Kara Lamb, a public information officer with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, the federal agency that manages water resources across the western states. “The truth is, she’s a working mother. Almost all of her rivers are dammed and utilized."
The first water ‘pulse flow’ to the delta on March 23, 2014 was the first intentional release of water into the parched delta. This water event marked an enormous achievement for the environment, and begins a process of regrowth and restoration for the ecosystems, economies, and communities in the region.
From March 17 to March 21, 2014, Blue Legacy’s Founder and President Alexandra Cousteau – water advocate, explorer, and the granddaughter of legendary storyteller Jacques-Yves Cousteau – joined Sam Champion on his new Weather Channel program America's Morning Headquarters, to retrace the flow of the Colorado River, and explore the intricate ties between sustainable water management, conservation, economic growth, and the weather that shapes this watershed and our future.
Watch the clips below to learn more about the demands and innovative approaches that define the availability and sustainable management of this precious resource.
Dams and Lakes
Interview: Cindy Ortega,
Chief Sustainability Officer,
Sustainable Urban Water
Full Story: The Big Dry