WATERSHED: "That area of land, a bounded hydrologic system, within which all living things are inextricably linked by their common water course and where, as humans settled, simple logic demanded that they become part of a community."
- John Wesley Powell
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As the mahant, or spiritual and administrative head, of the second largest Hindu temple in Varanasi, Veer Bhadra Mishra carries a tremendous weight on his shoulders. He inherited the family job at just 14, when his father passed away. Yet in spite of the pressure of being a priest, he was the first in his family to attend university, where he studied hydraulics engineering and later became head of the department. As if that weren’t enough to take on already, in 1982 he set up the Sankat Mochan Foundation, an NGO devoted to cleaning up the Ganges, which in 1999 earned him the Time magazine
Alexandra Cousteau, explorer, filmmaker and environmental advocate discusses water use and management of the oversubscribed Colorado River with Taylor Hawes, Director of the Nature Conservancy's Colorado River Program, in this three minute film by Expedition Blue Planet. Having a healthy river is an important legacy to leave behind and for that to happen on the Colorado people must understand the river's natural cycles and truly believe that nature has a right to water too.
Jennifer Pitt, Director, Colorado River Program at the Environmental Defense Fund tells it like it is in this short film. As Pitt and Alexandra stand on the banks of the All American Canal that siphons one fifth of the Colorado River to grow crops in California, Pitt points out that we have hit the age of limits on the Colorado: Simply put, demand now outstrips supply. All those 30 million people at the tap of the Colorado River must redress their water needs if this region is to continue to grow and thrive sustainably.
In July 2010, Expedition Blue Planet explored the headwaters of the Colorado River to investigate how this mighty river is overallocated from the moment its waters touch the ground up in the Rocky Mountains, where the Continental Divide rises like a spine and demarcates the Mississippi watershed that lies to the East from the Colorado watershed that falls to the West. Today we find that this iconic river still means life for the 20 million people who live in its basin — just as it did for the Native Americans, just as it did for the settlers who drove West and claimed it as their own.
In this behind-the-scenes video for Alexandra Cousteau's Expedition Blue Planet, the team continue their cross-North America trek investigating water issues across the continent. Watch as they muck through the icy cold headwaters of the Colorado River filming "The Headwaters", raft its biggest water through Cataract Canyon in Utah and make their way up into Canada.
The final stop on our 17,100 mile journey across North America, visiting the Potomac River gave us the chance to reconnect with the watershed we call home. This story, about the river which runs through our nation's capital—and through Blue Legacy's own backyard—really speaks to who we are and the work we do with local water keepers. The Potomac is the lifeblood of this region and a constant reminder of the challenges we will face in the future.
It was not so long ago that the river was called a “national disgrace.” While advancements have been made to partially restore its health and