Earlier today, American Rivers, an organization dedicated to preserving and protecting the waterways of the U.S., released its 2013 list of America’s Most Endangered Rivers. The report, which has been released annually for the past 30 years, serves to raise awareness to the challenges that these rivers face, which includes poor water management plans, excessive pollution and climate change.
All told, there are ten rivers that receive “Most Endangered” status this year. Some of those rivers include the Kootenai River in Montana and Idaho, the Catawba in North and South Carolina and San Saba River here in Texas. But perhaps the most alarming waterway to make the list is the iconic Colorado River, which stretches across the Western United States and has a dramatic impact on the entire region.
The Colorado tops the list for endangered rivers with the report citing “outdated water management” as the biggest concern. The situation has gotten so dire in fact that American Rivers says that “there is not enough water in the Colorado River to meet the Basin’s current water demands, let alone to support future demand increases from growing populations.” The river is already amongst the most controlled and dammed waterways on the planet, with plans for more in the future. Considering how important the river is to the states it passes through (Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming), the lack of water is a serious cause for concern as we head deeper into the 21st century.
So how can this trend be changed and the Colorado be saved? Well for starters, we can urge Congress to fund the Bureau of Reclamation’s WaterSmart and Title XVI Water Reclamation and Reuse programs. Both of those initiatives are going to be very important as we head forward, not just on the future of the Colorado, but numerous other rivers across the U.S. Particularly as climate change make drought more common and weather patterns more unpredictable.
The video below was put together to help explain the situation on the Colorado more fully and give us a visual idea of what we are dealing with here. It is a sobering piece piece that will definitely have a lasting impression.
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