Rivers who no longer reach the sea

A few days ago my son & I just saw the 70mm Grand Canyon movie at OMSI, which gave me a fresh and jarring reminder that I can’t get out of my head:the Colorado River no longer reaches the sea! At least not directly, via the low channel in the earth she once traveled. After 8 dams, several giant reservoirs evaporating into the desert sky, Las Vegas, the CAP, the thousands of acres of Imperial/Coachella valley golf courses, L.A., etc., she’s rerouted through sewers, turf, sky, etc.

Along with the stunningly beautiful parts, the movie showed the (once) riverside shacks that housed Mexican fishing families with a dusty dry bed out front–no fish. And bridges with great wide spans but no water running underneath.

It also disturbed me to hear that the water from the bottom of Lake Powell that flows through the Glen Canyon Dam into the Grand Canyon comes out twenty degrees cooler than when it flowed as a river. Leaving all the sediment behind.

Then at the end of the movie, after the voice-over of someone speaking as the voice of water (I am the clouds, the oceans. . .) they gave the “green bits”: if we just use low flow showerheads, water our lawns less, use the off switch on the hose while we soap up our cars. . .

And if we all do that, everyday, every year for the past ten years, then what? How much of that flow will return? 2%?

And if we all do that, everyday, every year for the past ten years, then what? How much of that flow will return? 2%?

Maybe a whole whopping 4%!


Maybe the Colorado needs a new name: Stolen River.

You know, it dawned on me… these admonitions to do actions that are ultimately ineffectual are just another means of social control. A distraction from the elephant in the room. :stuck_out_tongue: :stuck_out_tongue: :stuck_out_tongue: (why isn’t there a “barf” smiley?)

Blueheron: ai’ve thought for a while that both those things are true.

Actually effective water conservation in urban/suburban settings: “towel baths” instead of showers or baths; never wash your car; hand wash clothes; harvest all rainwater: roof runoff and stop rain from draining away from soil (via swales aka. basins), which will water…; native plants in your garden only, no lawn, except a yarrow lawn or mat-forming native grass (if available. if not but you still want a “lawn”, make a native grassland with bunchgrasses); use harvested rain from roof for all drinking needs.
My house hasnt committed to (nearly) all of these yet, but we already lowered consumption by 25%. We’re going for much more this year.

Orrrr, just be rid of a few key dams, that simply evaporate much of the river, and are used to supply those who live in certain areas with power. Interesting note, there are a couple rivers here in Wyoming that Wyoming does not own the water rights to. Montana and Colorado control the water. Go figure. Part of the problem is over population in the desert, where the carrying capacity of the range, so to speak, is not lush enough to support the population. [/end desert rant]