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Returning the Colorado River to the Sea

This post is part of a series on the Colorado River Delta. Once teeming with life and spanning some two million acres, the delta of the Colorado River ranked among the planet’s greatest desert deltas. But more than half a century of damming and diverting the river’s flow to supply the burgeoning farms and cities...

This post is part of a series on the Colorado River Delta.

colorado-delta-100Once teeming with life and spanning some two million acres, the delta of the Colorado River ranked among the planet’s greatest desert deltas.

But more than half a century of damming and diverting the river’s flow to supply the burgeoning farms and cities of the American Southwest has dried out the delta’s wetlands and depleted the river.  In most years, the mighty Colorado – which sculpted the Grand Canyon – no longer reaches the sea.

But thanks to years of hard work by conservation groups on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border, and a groundbreaking binational agreement to return a small volume of flow to the river and its delta, this aquatic wonder is poised for a revival.  As the water returns, so will the wetlands, birds, fish, and trees that once created a verdant and vibrant landscape.

To learn more, watch this video.  Then help restore water to the Colorado River by joining Change the Course. Sign up online or text ‘River’ to 77177.

Special thanks to Silk and Coca-Cola, Charter Sponsors for Change the Course. Additional funding generously provided by the Walton Family Foundation.Colorado River

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Meet the Author

Sandra Postel
Sandra Postel is director of the Global Water Policy Project and author of Replenish: The Virtuous Cycle of Water and Prosperity. From 2009-2015, she served as Freshwater Fellow of the National Geographic Society. Sandra is also co-creator of Change the Course, the national water stewardship initiative awarded the 2017 US Water Prize for restoring billions of gallons of water to depleted rivers and wetlands. The recipient of several honorary degrees, she works to bridge science, policy, and practice to promote innovative ways of securing water to meet both human and ecosystem needs.