National Geographic News
A photo of the Colorado River Delta looking towards the Sierra Madre.

The Colorado River Delta in Mexico cuts through the Sonoran Desert, and was formerly host to lush wetlands.

PHOTOGRAPH BY PETER MCBRIDE, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

Brian Clark Howard

National Geographic

PUBLISHED MARCH 22, 2014

Thanks to a landmark agreement between the United States and Mexico, the parched Colorado River Delta will get a rejuvenating shot of water this spring for one of the first times in five decades, just in time for World Water Day on March 22.

On March 23, 2014, the gates of Morelos Dam on the Arizona-Mexico border will be lifted to allow a "pulse flow" of water into the final stretch of the Colorado River. Officials and scientists hope the water will help restore a landscape that has long been arid but that once supported a rich diversity of life.

"The pulse flow is about mimicking the way the Colorado River flowed in the springtime, thanks to snowmelt from the Rocky Mountains, before all the dams were built," says Sandra Postel, director of the Global Water Policy Project and a National Geographic Freshwater Fellow. By the early 1960s, dams on the Colorado, such as Glen Canyon and the Hoover Dam, had diverted so much water that there was precious little flow entering the lower Colorado.

Water that did make it to Morelos Dam was diverted into Mexico's Mexicali Valley for crop irrigation, leaving little for the wildlife or indigenous people living in the delta.

A photo of the Morelos Dam.
This spring, a "pulse flow" of water will be released through Morelos Dam on the U.S.-Mexico border in order to benefit the plants and animals in the parched delta.
PHOTOGRAPH BY PETER MCBRIDE, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

Water for the pulse flow is being released from Lake Mead behind Hoover Dam at an unspecified time. It will take a few days to travel some 320 river miles (515 kilometers) to the Morelos Dam. On March 23, the gates of Morelos Dam will be opened by the International Boundary and Water Commission, which operates the structure. That will allow the pulse flow to enter the last 70 miles (113 kilometers) of the Colorado River. Peak flow through the gates is expected around March 27, and then the flow will taper to a lower volume for about eight weeks.

As agreed upon by the U.S. and Mexico, the total amount of flow over the period will be 105,392 acre-feet of water (130 million cubic meters). That represent less than one percent of the pre-dam annual flow through the Colorado, "but in terms of recent flows it is very significant," says Postel.

The outcome of the pulse flow remains somewhat unpredictable. Groundwater "sinks" along the route will trap an unknown amount of the water, and debris could block part of the flow or cause it to reroute. "There's a lot of uncertainty because this is an experiment that hasn't been done before," says Postel. (See "The American Nile.")

If the flow reaches the Sea of Cortez (Gulf of California), as scientists hope, it should happen in about two weeks. Except for a few short periods of heavy precipitation (most recently in the 1990s), the Colorado has not reached the sea since 1960. That has negatively impacted what used to be one of the world's most productive fisheries, which previously benefitted from the nutrients brought by the river. (See "8 Mighty Rivers Run Dry From Overuse.")

A photo of the Colorado River Delta at the Sea of Cortez.
Formerly lush, the Colorado's delta in the Sea of Cortez has long been an arid wasteland, thanks to overuse of the river.
PHOTOGRAPH BY PETER MCBRIDE, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

Rebirth of a Lush Ecosystem

"We can't wait for the water to come," says Osvel Hinojosa Huerta, a Mexican ecologist with the nonprofit Pronatura Noroeste who has spent years studying the delta. Hinojosa Huerta, who is also a National Geographic Emerging Explorer, says the pulse flow will help restore about 70 miles (113 kilometers) of the river's course and 2,300 acres of floodplain, including freshwater marshes.

The region once boasted two million acres of wetlands that comprised one of the planet's great desert aquatic ecosystems. But decades of scarce water have reduced vegetation in the delta by 90 percent, and recent years of drought have made the situation even more extreme.

The flow will benefit hard-hit cottonwood and willow trees and provide habitat for a host of wildlife, including endangered birds such as Yuma clapper rails, Virginia rails, and California black rails, says Hinojosa Huerta. Migratory birds like warblers and flycatchers will also benefit from restored habitat in the delta, which serves as an important corridor on their journey. The southwestern willow flycatcher is one species of special concern, he notes.

The pulse flow is timed to coincide with maximum seed production of native willows and cottonwoods, says Hinojosa Huerta. Those trees have been dying off in the delta in recent decades, because floodwaters are the primary way they disperse their seeds, he notes.

"The reason the pulse flow ramps up quickly and then has a long tail is because the peak flow is to spread the seeds and the tail is to maintain soil moisture so the seedlings can grow and the roots can follow the water down into the soil," says Hinojosa Huerta.

A photo of the Colorado River in a polluted area.
The mighty Colorado is reduced to a trickle in Mexico.
PHOTOGRAPH BY PETER MCBRIDE, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

Monitoring the Flow

For months scientists have been making detailed ecological studies of the lower Colorado River in order to gather baseline data before the dam gates open. Scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey, the Mexican government, the University of Arizona, the Universidad Autónoma de Baja California, Pronatura, and others have been studying the river and the surrounding ecology. Once the pulse flow starts, scientists will be monitoring water flows, salinity, temperature, groundwater recharge, vegetation growth, and impacts on birds, fish, and other wildlife.

A primary goal is to "see how water behaves in this system," says Jennifer Pitt, who works on Colorado River issues for the Environmental Defense Fund in Boulder, Colorado. Pitt and Hinojosa Huerta co-chair a binational working group on the river's restoration.

"We might learn that it would have been better to have less volume of water for more days, or that we got it just right, or maybe that we need twice the volume for one day, and so on," says Pitt. "Osvel [Hinojosa Huerta] did his dissertation on where the best bird diversity exists in the delta and found a strong correlation to open water, and now we'll be able to test his conclusions," she adds.

A photo of a dried up Colorado River channel.
Instead of wetlands, much of the Colorado River Delta is now covered by dry, salty, cracked earth.
PHOTOGRAPH BY PETER MCBRIDE, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

Binational Cooperation

The landmark agreement clearing the way for this spring's water release, known as Minute 319, was signed in November 2012 as an addendum to the 1944 water treaty between the U.S. and Mexico.

In addition to the pulse flow, the agreement allows Mexico to store water in U.S. reservoirs, and it specifies that both countries will share the benefits of water surpluses and the burdens of water shortages. It also promotes cooperation on conservation projects such as removing invasive tamarisk.

Minute 319 provides benefits that are "critically important on both sides of the border," says Anne Castle, the assistant secretary for water and science at the U.S. Department of Interior in Washington, D.C.

The agreement is the first in which two countries have come together to allocate water specifically to benefit the environment in a cross-border setting, Castle says. Governments in other countries are watching the pulse carefully, she added. Kyrgyzstan has already expressed interest in the agreement as a model for how an international river might be shared.

The current agreement between the U.S. and Mexico expires in 2017, but Castle says there is "very significant interest in discussing an extension of Minute 319.

The pulse flow will give us more information to work out the details for future agreements."

Hinojosa Huerta says a key to winning widespread support for the pulse flow along the Colorado has been assuring water users that the event will not affect their own water rights in any way. "Farmers, irrigation districts, and water managers have been very supportive," he says. "They are excited that the river is going to have water again."

The Colorado River Delta may never recover to its former size and glory, "but we know that if you add some water, life does return," says Postel. "We've seen rivers running dry all around the world, from being dammed and diverted, and here's one ecosystem of great significance that two countries are working cooperatively to try to restore. So many others need restoration too."

Help restore water to the Colorado River Basin by joining Change the Course, a project of National Geographic and partners. Sign up online or text "River" to 77177.

Follow Brian Clark Howard on Twitter and Google+.

46 comments
Michael Gary
Michael Gary

Wouldn't it be wonderful if that vast marshland was restored as a National Park for Mexico ? ! !

Jacobo Obregon
Jacobo Obregon

Yo vivo en Mexicali, una ciudad muy cerca del delta del rio, sinceramente ver correr agua por el cauce de nuevo por primera vez en mi vida es algo fantastico y una reponsabilidad para las generaciones venideras, gracias a ambos gobiernos por este esfuerzo

Melinna Fraixo
Melinna Fraixo

It is great news ! it is starting to look alive,,,water is arriving

Dick Young
Dick Young

I applaud this effort, but it's sad that a small attempt to right past environmental wrongs becomes "historic." It should be "everyday occurence."

David Walden
David Walden



@Luke Scott


You have provided both food for thought (re: Grand  Canyon) and added knowledge - Thank You.  Perhaps I failed to articulate my point more clearly on renewable energies -- Highly favorable, and certainly want to continue promoting this course of action. Alternatives just are not there now and for anyone to suggest that fossil fuels / natural gas usage is all bad and should be drastically reduced and/or abandoned at this particular point - is inconceivable. Absent fossil fuels, we would not be able to communicate as you and I are doing right now.


Back on point; Human Race: Yes, we are here, placed here by God Himself to be care takers and make decisions that are in the best interest of the Human Race.  (And we as a world – don’t always make the best decisions) On the subject of Desalination - I'm a "self proclaimed" authority having served in Our fine U.S. Navy for 30 years -- decades at sea with plenty of fresh water because we had the technology to make so much fresh water, daily, that we dumped fresh water back into the sea. So, yes technology exist right now, as I type to cost effectively provide a substantial amount of the water we all need. In closing, and really back to the main article - it makes no sense, none, to divert water to an area that has been without such for 50 plus years. Everything with little exception has either adapted (turtles), moved on, or died. Therefore sending 105 Million cubics of water will do absolutely nothing at this point --except make it all the more difficult to conserve for starters and secondly to promote, enhance the food supply the Human Race so desperately  needs. Great discussion.



David Walden
David Walden

I read the article and below comments with great interests. This Common Sense Kinda Guy must be seriously out of touch. Let us look at the facts - as they are crystal clear. So much so, that most children get it. California, serving as the bread basket for much of the country and parts of the world is lacking water to grow FOOD required by every single reader. Mr. Daniel - talking about California's illegal act or "stole" water. I can't begin to understand the logic. Mr. Luke; your logic escapes me. The energy systems you suggest, while clearly worth pursuing, none of the sources can provide but a small fraction of the energy necessary for YOU and all others to go about their daily lives. The land in question has been deprived of water for some 50 plus years. It fails to pass the common sense test to divert or "Pulse Flow" a precious and scarce resource to the Sea of Cortez. Seriously? Does anyone, anyone at all believe for a nano-second that the fish have not adapted and moved on - reproducing and providing for the those living in that area? Anyone? And Lastly for Ms. Mary -- knock the dams down??!!  Dams serve a purpose of not only a source of energy but flood control, building of reservoirs so the HUMAN RACE can survive conditions as we are going through this very moment. Ladies and Gentlemen, the comments absolutely stuns me. Water is a vital resource. We must have it. We as a nation need to capture, preserve and use wisely if we are to have any chance of a quality of life for future generations. The means by which to do all of this is by conservation efforts, certainly, but if we're really serious, as a nation, about saving the Colorado river, we need another source - something I look at daily - the Pacific Ocean. Desalination is one of many means to ensure there is plenty of water to produce the food we all need, with plenty left over for the parched environment. Balance is easy, we just need to clear the room of all those who want to oppose any creative idea to providing more energy, water, and other necessities of life. Taking us back to where we started -- moving 105,392 acre-feet of water (130 million cubic meters) of water to an area that has not had it in more than 50 plus years - at this particular time -- is by far the most asinine act I have witnessed or read about in a very, very long time. Incredibly Stupid and irresponsible.


Daniel Martinovich
Daniel Martinovich

I'd say talk to the state of California that basically, illegally, stole all the water before it got to Mexico. They now seem to own their "share" like a squatter "owns" the house and land they live on. Sheesh, just go on down to Yuma. They divert the whole damn thing to the Imperial Valley to grow alfalfa. The river just turns due west in a giant canal at Yuma.  It empties all of it's contents in very wasteful type of farming for a desert area.

You idiot environmentalists do know that agriculture uses approx. 80% while residential and industrial use is around 20% right? Of course this doesn't even address southern California's 1930's theft of Colorado  River water from the Parker Damn area. They just built a giant concrete canal and  pumped it out so you could water your lawns in Los Angeles with it. This also doesn't address the fact that if you got rid of some dams Mexico would do the same damn thing. Use the entire river to grow alfalfa. It would still never make it to the sea.

The damns aren't the problem. The desert cities in the southwest aren't the problem. California has always been the problem. It just takes what it wants and says sue us. It didn't abide by any past agreement and used it's power influence and wealth to get new agreements that let it keep what it stole and then doesn't keep those agreements.

I'm not against agricultural use of the river. Just the wasteful type that will eventually salt the land. Drip irrigation would still keep the imperial valley as a farming center. They would just have to grow different crops and tree's. Just not alfalfa and other wasteful flood irrigation crops that are better suited to where it actually rains.

I also read you do good public school educated no nothings say we should not get to water our lawns in the southwest like Phoenix. Guess what! For the most part we don't have lawns! We use decorative rock and landscaping. I bet only 20% of our houses have lawns and most of those are older homes that have long term agreements for irrigation. Southern California though has millions of lawns that could be converted to landscaping like ours. You know why we do it? It's stinking expensive to water and maintain a lawn in the desert.

So you whining environmentally sensitive liberals look to your liberal mecca of Southern CA. You change your liberal friends habits before you come preaching to us in the southwest who do live like we live in a desert, unlike liberals in California that preach do what we say but not as we do.

Luke Scott
Luke Scott

I currently live in Colorado and have been following this story as well as others similar to it about how water is distributed. 

A person could go on and on about how cities downstream from Colorado need water and can't survive without it, which is very true, however the need to maintain the health of the ecosystem is also fundamentally important here. 

The article states an astonishing fact that "water has not reached the Ocean (except in times of heavy rain) since 1960. I personally see something wrong with this picture. Is it fair of human kind to be so short sighted to think that our needs outweigh the needs of the areas that have been so heavily impacted by the ruling to dam the river? 

We can all complain how the water could go here or there and be used for this or that, and in some ways each person is right. The circumstance that needs to be remembered is that we (the human race) in our quest to build more, use more, and need more just to go through the whole circle again should be stopping and seeing the proverbial heavenly light that the choices that we have made in the past obviously are not working any longer and need to be fixed. Hopefully the actions being taken to help negate some of the impacts of decades of misappropriation of resources is enough to rebuild those ecosystems that are desperately in need of it.

Are all of the rules fair? No absolutely not. 

Should each area be living outside of their means? No I do not think so on that front either. 

People have the choice to live where they like, if they choose to live in a desert, the mountains, the coast, or wherever it is their choice. The ecosystems that have been impacted by the lack of water from the Colorado don't have that luxury. It can't simply move to another zone or climate. 

What is needed is for people to focus on how to better the planet not continue to be detrimental to it. Here is an example...people in Colorado can not harvest rain water because as soon as it hits the ground it is already slotted for some place downstream. Is this fair to the residents of Colorado? Not likely and similar impositions in other states would be met with extreme prejudice. 

How about we actually try to see if this helps the ecosystem and then tear down the dams so that the land can be returned to its natural state? We don't need hydroelectric, or coal power any longer so why do we continue to divert resources to keep these areas full? Using solar, geothermal, and wind power would easily suffice, however the rich (who keep getting richer) are able to lobby for the oil, natural gas, and to some extent the power companies to produce and keep things the way they are. 

Greed and shortsightedness have led us to where we are, now its time for each of us (myself included) to stand up and do what is right and give back to the planet whatever we can. Seriously it is the least that we can do for having such a beautiful place to live, in all it eccentricities.

John Fowler
John Fowler

An increase of 1% would make a huge impact according to this article. Considering about 20% of the water from the Colorado goes to residential uses and 70% of that goes to water lawns how about we outlaw lawns in the southwest? That would make for potentially over 10% more water going where it is supposed to, into the delta. Lawns in the desert are a tremendous waste of a scarce resource.

Mary Mason
Mary Mason

Did anyone read the article a couple weeks ago about the Colorado River getting smaller? Las Vegas is in danger of a massive water shortage. Is there really enough water for everyone? We harnessed the river, stopped the flow and made millions of people dependent on it. Now, we want to "share" it with Mexico? I say knock the dams down, open them up and restore the natural flow of water. Let the river and nature do what it's supposed to do. The native americans didn't have dams and they survived until someone came along and took it all away and changed what God created.

Bret Olsen
Bret Olsen

->- TRINH:  ... Really hope this cooperation between the two countries would help the parched dry river efficiently then will support and improve for the life of indigenous people  ...

I heartily agree!   The Sonoran Institute there has established an amazing conservation and tree restoration experiment!

Trinh Dinh
Trinh Dinh

Really hope this cooperation between the two countries would help the parched dry river efficiently then will support and improve for the life of indigenous people. 

Paul Seaver
Paul Seaver

An historic day: March 23, 2014.  Let the waters flow. New life for a precious part of the now parched delta of the Colorado River. And the water is coming from Mexico.

Chandos Hoffmann
Chandos Hoffmann

This is wonderful news.  Today we were at Davis Dam and noticed the huge output of water.  Actually have been watching the powerful river rise for a week, around BullHead City.

Felipe Ricketts
Felipe Ricketts

I love Baja and the Sea of Cortez.  This is great news.  I hope Minute 319 is found to produce beneficial results and will be keep in effect.  Cooperation for mutual benefit on an international level is needed world wide.  This is an exaple of how positive results can be achieved.

KENNETH LANE
KENNETH LANE

So now that this region has been destroyed who ownes it?   When did they buy it?  For how much?  Did it work as it does in the US--fat cat insiders buy the land for pennies on the dollar and get government money to build infrastructure to improve it?

Monali khandagle
Monali khandagle

Dams along the course of the Colorado prevent water from flowing its natural course, deny the people and land of Mexico water they need. Dams also cause silt to build up behind the dams, thus reducing their capacity to store water in the process. This pulse is a long overdue step to help the restoration of the Colorado delta. Let us learn to use water wisely. Respect the land and the river.

craig hill
craig hill

Imagine if this noble idea had been planned when NAFTA was destroying Mexican jobs and farmers. The exodus to the US might not have even occurred.

Jill Lane
Jill Lane

Build desalinization plants (and create jobs in the process) for the West Coast cities. Then less inland river water will need to be diverted.

Albert Cadda
Albert Cadda

Brilliant!!  I can't think of a "better way" to waste precious drinking water.


Cities in New Mexico and Texas are either, on the verge of running out of water, or have run out of water already.


Meanwhile, California is still using the primitive "flood irrigation" method instead of the much more efficient "drip irrigation" method.


What other crazy ideas do they have on the "drawing boards"?

Andrew Booth
Andrew Booth

I find it alarming that humans can just appropriate an entire river and cause such devastation and ecological disaster. I hear the argument that human population increase requires new communities, fresh water and hydroelectric power - but something is very wrong somewhere. 

Every water body and water course forms an essential part of an interconnected ecological and natural system. All components of the system - including humans - must act in accordance or harmony for there to be a healthy environment and future. The Aral Sea disaster is a perfect example of the effect of human appropriation of water. I can't see too much difference between the Aral Sea and the Colorado River.      

Eric Harmon
Eric Harmon

What is nuts LA (the leftiests) using all this water to support cities in area's that are to arid to support large populations.  Im sick of hearing the left coast complain when they have built cities in DESERT!!!

Phil Blank
Phil Blank

You people with your bright ideas!

You have states along the Colorado drawing water from it now, including California who is currently in a drought and you want to divert more need water away to the delta?

You people are NUTS!!

Ceci giacoma
Ceci giacoma

translation: I live in Mexicali, a city near the river delta honestly see running water through the channel again for the first time in my life is fantastic and RESPONSIBILITY for future generations, thanks to this effort by both governments

Luke Scott
Luke Scott

@David Walden  Thank you for your response! I too have now acquired new information that was previously unknown with the desalinization information you provided...Thank you! 


I have a question on the desalinization though, is the technology that exists public or governmental sector only? As with many things the government is usually a few years ahead of the rest of us an I am curious as to whether or not this is the case here? I don't proclaim to be an expert in any case, however I did complete my Masters Thesis on water conservation and the impacts of governmental law, so I too have a bit of information on the subject.


I can understand the abhorrence of sending water to the area as it has been without for so long, however, as mentioned in the piece, they simply do not know what the effect of the pulse will be. What if it does restore the delta to a state of quasi-health? Is all of the water still wasted then? It seems as though the possibility of it being able to rejuvenate the area, and possibly preserve what life is there is worth a shot though. As you mentioned in an earlier post . . . "we just need to clear the room of all those who want to oppose any creative idea to providing more energy, water, and other necessities of life". I see this as an idea that, if it works, could prove to be incredibly beneficial to not only the environment but also to the human race. There are creatures that can lay completely dormant in an area until another wet spell rolls through, what if, by some off chance, there is an endangered or previously thought extinct animal in the area that is of this nature? Is it still worthless to have taken these steps?


I'm not saying that the survival of the human race is unimportant, however I will say that as "stewards of the planet" we sure haven't done a very good job. If we can change things for the better by leveraging alternative technologies (in particular the methodologies we have been discussing), then is it not our responsibility to do so? I understand that we are in a drought, in multiple areas across the US, and feel as though it is not a matter of people doing the wrong thing per se, but instead it is a matter of people not being properly educated on the truly dire state that we are in. IF we have the ability to change but the barrier to entry is cost or something of the like then is it not our responsibility as a nation to develop these alternatives instead of relying so heavily on those things that we know for a fact are being depleted at alarming rates? Of course I am referring to fossil fuels here and the fact that we are depleting them at a rate that is potentially going ot put us out of the black stuff within a decade. Should we wait unitl this happens or further develop the technologies so that when it does (because it will) the blow is softened a little bit? 

Agreed - good discussion!

Luke Scott
Luke Scott

@David Walden  I am a little perplexed as to why there is so much hostility towards looking into energy alternatives, granted current infrastructure will not allow for these methods to gain the traction needed, but is it better to wait until we no longer have a choice? Isn't it is a better alternative to start expanding these capabilities now so that the future generations are able to survive when everything else could be gone?

Is it right to feel that we, as a species have the right to control everything that the planet has to offer? Is it that a majority of the human race feels that they need to control everything? I guess the short shortsightedness is still prevailing in the terms of being unable to recognize the fact that water doesn't belong to anyone. 

I will not say that California doesn't provide goods to the rest of the nation, but desalinization? You may want to look at exactly how much water can be derived from the oceans before jumping on that band wagon. Only about 1% of the water that passes through the plant is actually able to be used as a pure source. that is not to say that it is not an idea but simply, with current technologies, not a feasible solution (just as the alternative energy argument you posed). 

As for pulse flows through areas you may want to look at how they maintain the ecosystems of the Grand Canyon. They do "pulse flows" on a regular basis to ensure that the riparian areas are being maintained as they would be through the natural course of the river, if this "wonder of the world" were to dry up what then? Desalinized water? 

As for the Colorado water, we too are faced with a drought and the water that is being diverted to other states could be used here to help propagate our crops, we too provide a reasonable chunk of food to the nation, so why are we penalized for harvesting rain water, from an area that receives much more moisture (in normal circumstances) than we do? 

I agree that everyone should begin thinking outside of the box, and accommodate change, this also includes changing the way we are trying to preserve our resources. Dams were built to store water for irrigation and power, the power can be subsidized and how do we know what the environment will actually look if we were to allow natural flows to return to all of the rivers? I personally do not know what the area looked like aside from pictures and my imagination. If we think that we can control everything and play god then we, as a species (not a race) don't deserve the niceties that have been allotted. 


Luke Scott
Luke Scott

@Daniel Martinovich  I applaud your efforts to ensure that you are preserving as much as possible, however, did someone force you to live in the habitat you chose? Is there something that is keeping you from moving to an area that is a different climate? This is not something that only one person needs to look at but everyone who complains about scarce resources due to climate.

To say that California is the only problem is not in any way correct. Looking at one subset of our species is not looking at the entire picture of global health. This is only one river we are talking about in this forum, unfortunately the same thing is happening around the world not just in the South West of the United States of America.

For example, the Ogallalla Aquifer that covers about 1/3 of the US is dropping at a rate of 2-3 feet per year due to irresponsible irrigation, and the plowing over of natural replenishment spots. No one person or group of people are at fault for the current state of thing, but we are all responsible for changing current circumstances so that our species can continue to coexist in the environment not try to rule it.

KENNETH LANE
KENNETH LANE

@craig hill  But that would not fit the insiders plans--destroy US wages, and bring down the price of this land then buy it for next to nothing---it's so very Rightwing--

geddy chuda
geddy chuda

@Jill Lane Actually the diverting occurred when they built the inland dams and the release is just reverting to the natural state.  It is nonsense to build cost prohibitive desalination plants.  The point is that less inland water should be diverted/retained inland, that is what is causing the problems.

geddy chuda
geddy chuda

@Albert Cadda So because farmers are using inefficient irrigation methods that justifies sacrificing the river delta habitat?  Brilliant!!  The release isn't wasting water, it is preserving habitat.  Under your ideals maybe we should just pave over everything!

Daniel Martinovich
Daniel Martinovich

@Andrew Booth@Andrew Booth

@Monali khandagle

@Monali khandagle

Yes the river has been appropriated but not by damns. California illegally diverts the whole damn thing before it gets to Mexico. Just drive over to Yuma and you'll see the river turn due west into the Imperial Valley to grow alfalfa. Not only that.; California illegally built a pumping station and canal from the Parker Damn to water millions of lawns in southern California. Unlike us in Phoenix,who use landscaping, drip irrigation and rocks. This is a Californian issue. Let the feds crack down on them for what they have done, but they won't. Liberals rule it and liberals don't have to follow the rules the rest of us have to follow. 80% of that river is used to grow wasteful flood irrigation crops like alfalfa. So that is what really needs to change. A conversion of farming methods better suited to a desert and California needs to tear up their lawns and put rock in like the rest of us.

Elise Amiot
Elise Amiot

@Andrew Booth


I agree something is very wrong.  And that something is human overpopulation. Unfortunately we humans just can't seem to stop breeding.

So we won't stop until we hit a very uncomfortable wall. I just hope I'm not around when it happens.

KENNETH LANE
KENNETH LANE

@Eric Harmon First your permise of not building cities except where they can be liveable without enrgy costs is silly and childish---we would have few areas of habitation.  No homes in cold regions.  No homes in arid regions.  Would not leave much of the world habitable now would it.  Population control could negate some of this problem but then that would require controlling insane religious morons--and we know how likely that is---------

david auburn
david auburn

@Phil Blank You are being a little short sighted there maybe, eh?   And i'm not from the "lefiest" coast.

James Kavanaugh
James Kavanaugh

@geddy chuda @Albert Cadda  I have to agree with geddy, if texas is worried about running out of water, in a desert, they should have thought about that when designing all those water features in the cities. There are lots of things large cities can do with the resources they have, and preserving what little is left of our natural resources like wilderness and wildlife will draw in much more value then a few people who dont get to fill their pools as cheap as they used to. 

Michael Kinney
Michael Kinney

@KENNETH LANE @Eric Harmon

@KENNETH LANE@Eric Harmon So, what are getting at? We are supposed to adapt a Chinese style rule of one child per family? Religious morons? They scare progressives don't they.. People with strong family values and moral commitments are to be "controlled" under the progressive new world order of things. Dams have been the biggest single project that has brought prosperity to this country. They provided farms with water that has provided food to the masses. It provided water to cities. Most importantly they have provided electricity (free from pollution) to millions of people helping to heat and cool their homes. The water stored behind these dams have provided a mecca for sportsmen to fish in thereby providing states with additional revenue. So yeah, lets throw our water away on a Delta that provides nothing constructive for us or the Mexican people. It's just another scientific project to keep a certain few employed in their phony jobs. Given the choice Mr. Communist which would you choose? A dam that provides so much, or more coal fired power plants????

Sum Guy
Sum Guy

His post was about building in arid desert areas....not areas that require energy. Reading comprehension 101.

KENNETH LANE
KENNETH LANE

@david auburn @Phil Blank  Right you are David--there is no left coast; if any part of the nation is Rightwing it's California.  Raped by their power companies after decades of Rightwing rule the poor citizens of Ca. have little hope of a future as it now stands.  The Righties have held sway since the very beginnings of Ca.--That's why it's a nightmare of commerce and fragile as hell.

Daniel Martinovich
Daniel Martinovich

@Michael Kinney @KENNETH LANE@Eric Harmon

While I agree with your premise. The issue isn't the dams. It has always been California's illegal diversion of the whole damn river in Yuma to grow alfalfa in the Imperial Valley. They also illegally built a giant pumping station at the Parker Dam to water millions of southern California Lawns. They have gone to the courts with squatters rights on this and gotten away with it. Very simple solution. Tear down the canal that diverts all the water to the Imperial Valley right before it gets to Mexico. Let them have enough to grow crops on drip systems better suited for places where it does not rain. God knows the farmers get enough federal subsidies that they could get a little aid for that. Use tax incentives for southern Californians to rip out their lawns and landscape and drip system them like we do in Phoenix. Problem solved except!!! Mexico getting it's share that all the other agreements gave them but California stole. What would now prevent them from diverting their share to grow alfalfa? Nothing at all.

Ben Berry Balthazar
Ben Berry Balthazar

@Sum Guy  You made yourself look petty with that jab. His argument made sense. If you agree or not just simply state the reason and why.  Looking for holes in others arguments without your own solution is one of the reasons our political system is no longer effective. 

Michael Kinney
Michael Kinney

@KENNETH LANE @david auburn@Phil Blank Right wing rule in California? Man, your statement shows your unbalanced, unhinged and naïve. Wow, your the FIRST person I have every heard from that has blamed the communist state of California's problems on the Right wingers. Every Californian I have ever met has had the opposite viewpoint. Of course these poor blokes were fleeing California to get out from under the Progressive's oppressive boot heel. Now take a deep breath and unclench your butt cheeks. You lefties are always so angry. No wonder you all want free healthcare to deal with your stress, ulcers and intestinal blockages... But salvation is within your grasp. Just elect a Libertarian.........   :-)

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