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Change the Course: Help Save the Colorado River

The Colorado River may have cut the Grand Canyon, but for much of its course the river is no longer so mighty. Most of the time, the Colorado no longer even reaches the sea.

The moisture the Colorado River brings to an arid part of the United States and a piece of northern Mexico has sustained generations of people and many generations of wildlife. But that water has long been over allocated, sucked dry by the 30 million people who rely on it for drinking and irrigation.

Once free, the Colorado now has many dams along its 1,450 miles (2,333 kilometers). Its life-giving water is divided up among seven U.S. states and Mexico according to a series of treaties and agreements. But precious little flows remain to support the rich ecosystems that once flourished along the river’s path.

As Wade Davis recently reported, the Colorado once supported a vast, sprawling delta where it met the Gulf of California:

As recently as the last years of the nineteenth century the wetlands produced enough wood to fuel the steamships and paddle wheelers that supplied all of the army outposts, mining camps, and ragtag settlements of the lower Colorado. Today the gallery forests of cottonwood and willow are a shadow of memory, displaced by thickets of tamarisk and arrowweed, invasive species capable of surviving in soils poisoned by salt.

Davis added that, as a result of the loss of rich sediments that were formerly deposited into the Gulf, “Marine productivity has fallen by as much as 95 percent, and all that remains to recall the bounty of the estuary are the countless millions of shells that form the islands and beaches on the shore.”

Davis and Sandra Postel, National Geographic’s Freshwater Fellow, have also documented the toll the drying of the delta has taken on the region’s indigenous people, the Cucapá (also spelled Cocopah), the “People of the River.”

Postel wrote:

Historical accounts suggest that four hundred years ago as many as 5,000 Cucapá were living in the delta. Today, perhaps 300 remain.  Theirs is a culture at risk of extinction – and the primary reason is the colossal 20th-century grab of the waters of the Colorado River.

We Are All to Blame

It’s easy to blame farmers and ranchers along the Colorado who draw from its channel to water their crops or quench the thirst of their cows. Or glittering cities like Las Vegas and Los Angeles, which pipe in water from long distances to fill pools and water lawns.

These and others are the immediate consumers of water from the Colorado, but the truth is that we are all at least partially responsible. Many of us consume products that come from the region, whether in the form of cornmeal, hamburgers, or electronics. Many of us visit the region to ski, play golf, hike, or shop.

We live in an increasingly connected world, in which we ship “virtual water” in the form of products and even services around the world. We can’t simply fix the Colorado by piping water from another place, as Brian Richter recently pointed out. We need more holistic solutions. And fact is, many of us use more water than we need, perhaps more than could be called our “fair share.”

In the U.S., we use twice as much water per person as the global average.

dry Colorado River Delta in Change the Course video

We Can All “Change the Course”

We all can do better. Take our water calculator to see how much water you use everyday, hidden in your diet and wardrobe, and to make your transportation possible.

Or, get right down to business, and pledge to start saving a little water in your own life. Make a small change today, and you may find yourself quickly forming a more water-efficient habit. Eat one less serving of meat (it takes 634 gallons of water to make one burger), skip one cup of coffee (37 gallons), or carpool (it takes 13 gallons of water to make one gallon of gas).

And yes, please do turn off the faucet when you brush your teeth. Every drop counts.

Under the leadership of Sandra Postel, National Geographic’s freshwater team has joined forces with the Bonneville Environment Foundation and Participant Media (the creative folks behind An Inconvenient Truth, Waiting for Superman, and Last Call at the Oasis), to bring ordinary people together to magnify collective efforts, in a program called Change the Course (view the official press release). On the campaign website, people can enter their email address or phone number to receive regular updates on restoration work in the Colorado River Basin.

How It Works

For each person who signs up to Change the Course (and hopefully pledges to start saving water in their own life), corporate partners will donate funds to support restorative work along the Colorado. The team will work with local conservation groups on the ground, on projects designed to achieve high ecological value.

Change the Course’s Charter Sponsor is Silk. Some of the projects under consideration include helping farmers in the basin increase their irrigation efficiency, and replacing invasive, water-sucking plants with native species.

Already, Change the Course helped fund restoration of water to the parched Yampa River in Colorado, near Steamboat Springs. In an innovative partnership, such water users as farmers, ranchers, and water districts temporarily leased water rights to the Colorado Water Trust.

Going forward, Change the Course will restore 1,000 gallons of water to the Colorado Basin for each pledge made. The more people who sign up, the easier it will be to attract more sponsors—companies who likely want to “balance” their own water budgets by helping return flows to nature. It can be a way to offset consumption in various stages of their businesses.

The Change the Course team is piloting this innovative restoration approach in the Colorado River Basin, with hopes of moving it out to other river basins around the nation or the globe.

As the slogan goes, it’s never too late to Change the Course.

Please sign up today to help Change the Course 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.

Comments

  1. Lherbret
    France
    August 29, 5:29 pm

    In France we have ERN – European River Network. I’ll try to see if I can have my local association look into this.
    Chedk also SOS LOIRE VIVANTE.

  2. Sara
    Tallahassee
    August 9, 11:44 am

    Thank you for this article. I had just watched the “Raise the River” (Colorado) ads and, while they were entertaining, they shed absolutely NO light on “how” to do so. Ironically enough just like Will Farrell’s parody “send us your money” campaign that is exactly all I could find on their website. When I read this article, while I expected a campaign to save every drop an individual can, I now understand that this effort includes enhancing progressive irrigation methods, and xeriscaping, etc. Thank you for the enlightenment and clarity.

  3. priyadarshni
    india
    July 22, 10:46 am

    i read a ‘white paper’ recently. it helped me a lot for my project.thank you!

  4. raj mehra
    ajmer rajsthan
    June 26, 1:30 am

    nice chenal so i like photo graphi

  5. Doug
    Arizona
    March 25, 1:14 pm

    Oh, brother! Won’t comment on most of the stuff in here.

    But I will say this — the one crop we ought to eliminate completely from this country is corn destined for automotive fuel. Talk about naive!! All the politicians and those others who make money from this travesty will never admit to it, but this ethanol thing is almost as big a hoax as man-made global warming!!! In the end, powering cars with corn is not saving us or the environment a darned thing!!!

  6. Tonja Bell
    Texas
    March 21, 9:52 am

    I haven’t even heard anything about the Colorado River being saved. I read all of these comments and most of what I see is that we need to quit planting crops. Seriously? Exactly what do you think you will eat then? Quit watering lawns and building swimming pools! I live in the Hill Country in Texas, I know about conserving water…….left over water in a glass waters a plant, grey water waters the trees, changing the water in the dog’s dish goes to a plant, take Navy showers. Every day, all day long, many of us have had to conserve water or our wells would be dry. Well, I can tell you why our wells are lessening……They, the cities, towns and federal government (including the Colorado River Authority), pump our water into the big city so they can have a pretty river or a water park and thousands of businesses that waste water, wash their parking lots, etc. Meanwhile, I have to conserve to have water to drink and bathe. Tell me….what is fair here? San Antonio, TX, steals water for hundreds of miles. They take from those of us that want nothing to do with that nasty city. We have no say because higher authorities get to regulate it. They even contemplated on putting meters on our wells because of the water shortage. I believe there are plenty of conservation methods that could be employed, but getting most city dwellers to even think about it is ridiculous. Just because a person is rich and can afford a fine they think they don’t have to comply. I think there needs to be stricter compliance all the way around. Digging up plants along the river banks isn’t going to fix the river either….geez, there have always been plants along river beds. That is part of the ecological system. Just sick of everyone complaining…..I don’t see anyone stating that they are actually conserving. I sure am tired of being one of the few!

  7. darimont jacques
    belgium
    January 27, 1:08 pm

    each year, i am visiting Swizerland, and i see each year how
    many water is loss in moutntains.
    Tihs is an International problem,
    The water is not good regulated for everybody, at this point
    you add the begin of new climate…and soo and soo…
    sorry for my Englisch!!…He his the same as the quality of
    water !

  8. darimont jacques
    belgium
    January 27, 12:47 pm

    water will be the next war….
    i am afraid to see how much people has access so easy at
    water, and the rest….nothing ! Water, the base of any life!

    we are in 2014! are we so blind?…

  9. Atanacio Luna
    Quail Valley, CA, USA
    January 22, 11:19 am

    It makes some people mad, but people should first read the book before getting angry: Pluvinergy is specifically designed to replenish the Colorado, and rebuild its wetlands: And it works. It produces a little less than 25% of the flow of the Colorado, but because it uses the water in its own agriculture more efficiently, one plant can replace more than 25% of the river flow. Six or more plants can be built around the Sea of Cortez (Baja California). One plant also produces enough energy for Southern CA. Yes it can be done! We just have to define the problem and decide to fix it.

  10. himanshi verma
    lucknow
    December 26, 2013, 12:31 am

    it is verry informative as well as effective… we will surely save water for the next generation.

  11. mn
    Earth
    December 13, 2013, 12:41 am

    “水”來自天上,是上天的恩賜之物。
    人類的錯誤,種植的錯誤,很多錯誤,地球沒有水。
    科羅拉多​​地區的干旱,像火星。
    想要水,要改變,要改變的是命運,是有水的命運。
    你不會信的。
    “Water” from heaven, is a gift of God’s thing.
    Human error, planting mistakes, many mistakes, Earth without water.
    Arid areas of Colorado, like Mars.
    Want water, to change, to change is the fate is the fate of water.
    You would not believe.

  12. Martin Rios
    Cano San Lucas , Mexico
    November 18, 2013, 2:27 pm

    Dream on.!! If all of us in the world get to put our pledge in favor of the Colorado river problem, it will only take a few stupid Senators to Vote against that pledge and just make it worst.
    With the building of the Hoover Dam a whole ecological system was wiped out the face of the earth, look closer , it is all destroyed thanks to the geeed of a few.

  13. grassroot
    USA
    November 11, 2013, 2:30 pm

    As Scripture says , ” And the earth shall wax
    old as a garment and be changed.”
    Shall,, is the operative word.

  14. Brak
    Leningrad
    November 3, 2013, 7:58 am

    Burning fossil fuels is the key to releasing huge amounts of water into the atmosphere to eventually fall as precipitation. The two main byproducts of combustion are CO2 and H2O…pump it out of the ground and set it ablaze and we all will have all the water we can use.

  15. Donna
    Tennessee
    October 20, 2013, 5:59 am

    Companies that sell water Is the culprit. Take notice how commercial confiscation has contributed to the problem. Sad!

  16. mayo
    africa
    October 7, 2013, 4:25 pm

    heyyyyy guys I am so awesome cuz I took the pledge and ya so ya

  17. Rain Water Systems
    Santee
    October 5, 2013, 6:37 pm

    A big part of the solution is is to eliminate grass, plant edibles and utilize the rainwater from your roof.
    A small house in San Diego, where the water rates are the highest, yields 6,500 gallons per year that now mostly goes to the ocean as pollution, aka, urban runoff.

    http://www.rain-watersystems.com

  18. Maria
    USA
    September 25, 2013, 12:42 pm

    Hi

  19. David
    Virginia
    September 24, 2013, 2:39 pm

    Some of those water consumption numbers given seem out of reach. Water is a precious resource especially in the southwest. But its 2013 and hard to turn the clock backwards. Agribusiness and growing populations are the two main reasons the Colo River is dry going into the Gulf of California. Do you affordable vegetables and growing populations in the southwest?? I mean it is a trade off. More conservation will help but you just too many people for the available water resources. Government mandates like ethanol usage don’t help the situation. Ethanol mandates are totally foolish and provide NO benefits.

  20. I demand 0000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000.1% ethanol in gas!!!
    98144
    September 18, 2013, 6:59 pm

    10-15 percent is a lot! The government needs to demand 1% ethanol in our gas!!! i hate u governmenT!! i will punish u severely

  21. Namit
    India
    September 18, 2013, 6:24 am

    Most of the water is used by the animal farming industry. The numbers which have been put here are correct. It takes a lot of water to feed the corn and other farming industry which is fed to animals.
    If people start realizing the impact of animal farming on planet, they will know that they have built this disaster and spoiling the entire planet with over consumption of resources and green house gases from Animal farming.

  22. Kenneth Crook
    San Jose, California, USA
    September 9, 2013, 5:16 am

    “10,000 gallons to grow a bushel of wheat”
    Wrong. Most of the wheat grown in the USA and Canada are dry land farming. No water other than rain and snow is added.

    • Brian Clark Howard
      September 10, 2013, 9:18 am

      Hi. The water footprint of crops includes both rain water and irrigation water. Rain-fed wheat and corn (and other crops) are using natural rainfall that could otherwise supply natural grasslands or wetlands, for example. For more information on water footprints (and the division between rainwater and irrigation water) see the Water Footprint Network’s product gallery: http://www.waterfootprint.org/?page=files/productgallery

  23. James Wise
    Riverside CA
    August 8, 2013, 12:16 pm

    Why are waterless urinals not installed in homes and many business establishments? Come to think about it, every time someone urinates, gallons of fresh water are flushed down the drain! Or should homes and establishments not have latrines to collect the urine which is the ultimate organic fertilizer! Exempted of course are those on medication.

  24. Tim
    Phoenix
    August 7, 2013, 7:34 pm

    Let me set the record straight on the golf courses in Phoenix. They use recycled grey water, not fresh water. Legislator in this country does not let cites use grey water for consumption, even though often it’s cleaner than the source.

  25. S Latimer
    Phoenix
    August 6, 2013, 2:53 am

    If our government was so concerned about saving water why do we not bring back out houses or insist on composting toilets ? I never understood why all the water has to go to the sewer treatment plant. Why can’t gray water be run out on the lawn ?
    And what is the purpose of the lawn … you water … then mow… water … then mow. Both take alot of energy and resources.
    In Phoenix you have whole neighborhoods on lakes that are full of gray water. I see people watering their grass in the middle of the day in summer. I am suspicious of all the hype about water shortage and since water is such a big commodity why are they dumping poison in our drinking water ? get ecducated on the dangers of flouride in our drinking water.
    THE MORE MAN TRIES TO CONTROL NEEDS SUCH AS WATER THE MORE POLLUTED AND SCARCE IT WILL BECOME.
    THEY HAVE STARTED TO PRIVATIZE THE WATER SUPPLY.

  26. Mike
    Woodbridge, CA
    July 30, 2013, 1:04 am

    634 gallons of water to make one burger, not even from the conception of the steer to the washing up after eating could you ever get to 34 gallons. People please use some common sense. 13 gallons of water for one gallon of gas. What a bunch of crap. And all the fools reading this are swallowing it hook line and sinker.

    • Brian Clark Howard
      July 30, 2013, 9:05 am

      Hi. Those numbers come from the Water Footprint Network (http://www.waterfootprint.org/?page=files/home), which aggregates various scientific studies. Most of the water to make a burger goes into growing the cow’s feed, which is primarily corn in the U.S. (For natural grass-fed beef, the water footprint is much lower, although Americans still consume corn-fed beef at vastly higher proportions.) For gas, the water is used in processing crude oil.

  27. scott lucas
    Alta Wyoming
    July 22, 2013, 5:27 pm

    if we want to conserve water start with eliminating Corn from our crops. then look at the chemical companies.
    I’m not against eating and production of chemicals , but if we really want to conserve the we should start with the biggest users

    • Brian Clark Howard
      July 22, 2013, 6:40 pm

      Hi Scott. Thanks for the interesting thought. Overall, about 90% of our water use is agriculture, so you are right to focus in on that (not just corn, but everything else we produce, from cotton to beef). Chemical companies do use water, but on a much smaller scale. Historically, the chemical industry has been an important source of water pollution, of course.

  28. Oscar
    San Diego, CA
    July 14, 2013, 1:42 pm

    How is this for an idea. We remove water from the Colorado, why not put some back. In San Diego alone, more than 120 million gallons of treated water are piped 5 miles out into the ocean. Each day we dump hundreds of millions of gallons of treated water into the ocean from the other coastal cities in Caifornia. Why not take that treated water and pipe it back to the Colorado or use it to irrigate farmland in the Central Valley.

    This would conceivably lessen the demand for water taken out of the river.

  29. Ned Peterson
    Phoenix (and feeling guilty about it)
    July 13, 2013, 3:04 am

    I agree with RKW’s comments about Phoenix.

    It’s so ridiculous to be listening to a news report about the need for water conservation while driving past all the golf courses with sprinklers running.

    It rained today, the first rain I’ve noticed since I moved here the first week of April.

  30. RKW
    Indy
    July 4, 2013, 4:37 pm

    We could just close Phoenix. That city shouldn’t exist anyway.

  31. zeshan ali
    okara
    June 29, 2013, 12:14 am

    very good information

  32. KD
    United States
    June 27, 2013, 10:19 pm

    The water calculator is flawed. They want to harp on water use for meat, but what about water use for grains? It takes up to 5,000 gallons of water to grow a bushel of corn, 10,000 gallons to grow a bushel of wheat, and 15,000 gallons to grow a bushel of soy. I’ll stick to my local raised meat and vegetables, thank you. And by eating nutrient rich foods, I eat a lot less than people trying to fill up on carbs.

    It also doesn’t give any options for buying things that are used. I very rarely buy anything new, except things like mattresses and undergarments. All my tvs, etc were bought used. My computer is a recycle. All my lights are LEDs, etc.

    There are a lot of things on that calculator where there are substitutions available. (grey water toilets anyone?)

    The best thing anyone can do for our world is have less children. Less people means less use of anything. But people have no common sense, and we are all doomed by the actions of the whole world, not just the individual.

    • Brian Clark Howard
      June 28, 2013, 5:17 pm

      Hi. Thanks for checking it out. The water calculator is not meant to be totally comprehensive, it is meant to be a tool that helps average folks better understand their water use. Eating local definitely provides a number of benefits, though by volume the vast amount of food that Americans consume today is still sourced from all over.

      When making the tool we did talk a lot about meat, because eating grass-fed beef is a lot different than corn fed when it comes to water use. But we didn’t want to over complicate it, and the fact remains that the vast majority of beef consumed today is corn fed. There also were limitations on the data sets that we could access. If you do eat grass fed, know that your water footprint will be lower for beef, but it’s also true that a lot of people don’t eat one type exclusively.

      Graywater recycling is still quite rare for homes, and a lot of people still aren’t aware of it, so we didn’t want to complicate the tool. But if you do use it, that’s awesome!

  33. Oscarphone
    Seattle
    June 26, 2013, 8:35 pm

    Our government mandates that we use 10% Ethanol in our gasoline and soon it will be 15%. It takes 1000 gallons of water to make one gallon of Ethanol. On top of that, 10% Ethanol decreases gas mileage in cars by 10 to 15 percent and in the bargain, creates more of the stuff that creates smog. Ethanol plants in the Midwest are drastically lowering the water table there. We are wasting trillions of gallons of water on a dubious power source for our automobiles.

    We can go a long way toward conserving water by shutting down the corn Ethanol plant boondoggles that are being subsidized by the government.

  34. Evan Allen
    New York
    June 25, 2013, 10:24 am

    I feel bad for Mexico. We steal all the water from the upper Colorado River and all they get is salt.

  35. Moola Kalaluka
    Zambia; Southern Africa
    June 21, 2013, 2:44 pm

    I live in a country blessed with vast amount of water resources. However, due to urbanization and poor management of the water resource, the quality of water is compromised resulting in a shortage of clean and healthy drinking water. When i read about the Colorado river, it brings to me a certain feeling that i do not ever what to see happening in my country. Water is life and should be given the respect it deserves.

  36. Eric Camarena
    California
    June 11, 2013, 8:51 pm

    The Bible talks about the Water Drying Up …. The only place safe to live, would be the Great Lakes. Millions will move to the Great White North to survive the End of Times or End of Days as we know it. Just Saying…

  37. Carol Isaac
    Seattle
    May 24, 2013, 5:25 pm

    Our aquifers are due to be “severely” drained by 2030. That is seventeen years away, and we know how these scientific predictions have been accelerating in the most unpleasant direction once announced. The northwest is one of the richest places in water in the country. Be worried. Be very worried. And, And, And… if we are going to be anything smarter than yeast, we need a national water policy. Why don’t we have one? Why are you not thinking about one? Do you REALLY think the leadership in this country will ever get us one? Think deeply. Get real. What will happen when we don’t have one? And it is fifteen years from now. How old will you be? Any children you know? Who should get that water first? Who will be living in a dehydrated state, and I don’t mean California, I mean the state of the place you stand in….will you be able to afford to wash clothes? dishes? have enough daily water? Did you want to live a lifetime? How long will that take at your age? What will you really be doing thirty years from now?

  38. antoinette schwechlen
    Rixheim France
    May 19, 2013, 4:58 pm

    Hi has just watch the program from the french television channel about how dramatic the Colorado River has lost its water level every year, I hope that all these States , or these 30 million americans who depend from the river source would now be aware of the impact . It’s not too late yet , please change your attitude and use your water supply intellegently.

  39. Mary Reese
    Pensacola Florida
    May 16, 2013, 7:49 pm

    I lived in Big River, CA and Parker,Az for many years and enjoyed life on the Colorado River immensely. To float down its beautiful stretches or fish its gorgeous banks was heavenly. I do so wish that for others for generations to come.

  40. Sarah
    USA
    May 14, 2013, 5:21 am

    when did this start ? This problem?

  41. Phoenix
    Washington
    May 12, 2013, 1:07 am

    Perhaps it’s time for America to invest heavily on desalination and waste water recycling technologies, similar to what Israel is doing to meet their needs.

  42. colorado
    colorado
    May 8, 2013, 11:50 am

    here in north colorado we’ve been getting pounded with rain lately and in fort collins all our riveres are still dry do to damming upstream.

  43. ken n
    calgary
    April 25, 2013, 12:02 pm

    how much fresh water in Az & NM goes to golf courses?

  44. Sabya Sachi Sarker
    Bangladesh
    April 5, 2013, 10:14 am

    Humanism not only for human but also for another living being. We know human can change the world, also can save the world. We can’t stop natural calamities but we can save the world if we don’t misuse or waste the natural products. Water is the most important & essential part of our life. So Plz don’t misuse it.

  45. docbrody
    Pensylvania
    April 3, 2013, 8:15 pm

    I understand conserving water in Colorado, Nevada, California, etc, but what good does it do for someone like me to conserve water where I live? I’m not against doing it, but I just wonder what good it will really do. We get over 42 inches of rain here per year. That’s more than Seattle, the supposed rainfall capital of the US. We are literally overflowing with water. And its not as if after I drink a glass or water my lawn that the water disappears forever. Its ultimately recycled back into the environment. So why should I conserve water?

    • Brian Clark Howard
      April 5, 2013, 11:38 am

      Hi. Thanks for the comment. You bring up a good point about water used locally in your own watershed, but it’s also important to remember that everyone’s complete water footprint actually lands all over the U.S. and the world, often affecting water-stressed regions. If you wear cotton it was most likely not grown locally, and chances are good not all your food was sourced in your watershed either (or your electricity). If you eat lettuce in the winter, most likely you are “eating” Colorado River water.

      Household use of water is only about 5% of our total water footprint when we look at society as a whole, which suggests that we all have a lot of room for conservation.

  46. MyName
    anonymous
    April 2, 2013, 8:04 pm

    Let’s give water to politicians which can turn water into hot air and steam. We can use the hot air to melt the ice caps faster and use the steam to drive turbines.

  47. jim Moose
    March 30, 2013, 10:56 pm

    Chinese Bladder Ships? Give me a break! There isn’t any such thing and the rumor is spread by ignorant idiots.

  48. dave marquardt
    Alma Co.
    March 30, 2013, 8:53 pm

    we are here in the now, so please let everyone help as they can conserve this precious resource. Education for everyone will help, so don’t give up hope.There are much more gloomy things on the horizon for manmade armageddon to do us in! out Dave

  49. Bill Cody
    Syracuse, NY
    March 28, 2013, 1:43 pm

    We are all to blame? Not here, like Millions of others I’m getting a little tired of the non-stop gloomy clouds, snow and rain we’ve been getting up here since the fall. I’ve no interestest in H2O conservation such as low flush toilets. Those in the SW feel free to conserve.

  50. Lisa Borre
    March 18, 2013, 3:16 pm

    Diana,
    To learn more about the causes of declining water levels in the Great Lakes, you might be interested in this post: “Warming Lakes: Climate Change and Variability Drive Low Water Levels on the Great Lakes”
    (http://newswatch.nationalgeographic.com/2012/11/20/climate-change-and-variability-drive-low-water-levels-on-the-great-lakes/).

    I’ve heard the concern you raise about water being collected in the Great Lakes and shipped to China, but the numbers just don’t add up. The numbers that do add up are the ones related to historic water diversions that were never offset and more recent trends related to climate warming. The Great Lakes have a great deal of natural variability, and now added to this, a warming climate is causing the water to evaporate at higher rates.

    One final note, I assume that you meant to say the lakes have dropped 30 inches, not 30 feet. This is closer to the current water levels for Lakes Michigan and Huron, the hardest hit of the five Great Lakes, which are about 29 inches below the long-term average since record-keeping began in 1918.

  51. Diana Worth
    Colorado
    March 15, 2013, 10:36 pm

    Not only are those from other States taking water from the Colorado River, look into why China is allowed to bring their bladder barges into the Great Lakes, filling the bladders with fresh water, then taking it back to China. The Great Lakes water level has already dropped 30 feet! That is a lot of drinking water that will destroy the natural aquifer, if it has not already happened!

  52. Nikoli Dracovitch
    Russia
    March 8, 2013, 11:42 am

    i concour with saving colorado river

  53. jules
    germany
    March 7, 2013, 11:23 am

    How do you print?

    • Brian Clark Howard
      March 11, 2013, 10:17 am

      Hi. Thanks for checking out the site. We don’t have a special print button, but you should be able to print through your browser.
      Best

  54. Dave Snavely
    Ornage, CA
    March 7, 2013, 2:25 am

    September 29, 200 (7)

    HenryPaulson Secretary of the Treasury
    Department of the Treasury
    1500 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
    Washington, D.C. 20220

    Dear Secretary Paulson:

    Many Americans are elated that President Bush wishes to take a leadership position in global warming. Listed below is a water and energy concept for your consideration.

    **CALIFORNIA, ARIZONA, NEVADA & MEXICO…A multi-national geothermal project near Yuma, Arizona would be extremely rewarding! We could pipe in sea water from the Sea of Cortez and use abundant Southwestern geothermal energy to power our desalination plants. After sending pure water to San Diego and Riverside Counties, aquaculture and irrigated agriculture would develop in this sector. Southern Arizona Native Americans would receive their electricity requirements and America will share free fresh water with Mexico. Mexico had been receiving less water, yet with a higher salt content from the Colorado, hurting their agricultural, economic development and tourism projects.

    Less water demand in the south will allow Northern areas greater usage or storage. LA pipes water from the Colorado river across the desert to many metropolitan beach cities also.

  55. Grace
    U.S
    March 5, 2013, 6:31 pm

    I think the problem is the dams. They are taking the water away so there is no way to conserve the river if the dam is making electricity. Also, since there are many cracks in the area, the water seeps through them like water going down a drain. The water is still there, you just cant see it and there isn’t much water either.

  56. Anthony
    HARLEM SHAKE
    February 22, 2013, 10:55 am

    To global warming believers: It says gullible on the ceiling.

  57. Martin Aston
    Washington, DC, United States
    February 21, 2013, 10:17 am

    step 1: stop wasting water on grass lawns in the desert Southwest.

  58. Anthony
    Iowa
    February 20, 2013, 11:15 am

    -_-
    The water will still be there, just below the river. The water is just going to seep into the ground, it probably won’t go anywhere. It just won’t be seen where it used to be. New water cannot be created, and water cannot be destroyed.

  59. Press To Digitate
    United States
    February 16, 2013, 6:11 pm

    You could “conserve” every last drop presently extracted from the Colorado River, and it wouldnt make any difference. The diminishing mountain snow melt will ultimately run the river dry in the next one to four decades. This will render the Las Vegas, Phoenix, and Tucson metropolitan areas uninhabitable. Its not about how much water we use, its about Climate Change. ‘Conservation’, a failed mugwump concept from the 1970s, must give way to ‘Sustainability'; unfortunately, we probably havent learned this lesson soon enough.

  60. ken arnold
    Watson, Michigan
    February 16, 2013, 11:55 am

    I read a ‘white paper’ recently where the author tied to field the impact that global populations have on the carrying capacity of the earth.
    His conclusion : Humanity, homo sapiens Rex, has finally acheived plague status .
    Sadly, I must agree .

  61. ahmedhasan
    egypt
    February 15, 2013, 4:20 am

    serch soil

  62. Tim Upham
    United States
    February 14, 2013, 9:48 pm

    The problem with the Colorado River is that it no longer goes to the Gulf of California anymore, because of the dams and so much water being siphoned out of it. The Hoover Dam especially, when waters are released from the dam, they are cold and clear, and this has greatly affected three fishes: Colorado squawfish, bonytail chub, and razorback sucker. Which need warm, silt-laden waters to spawn in.