Colorado River Flows Into Mexico Again Due To Minute 319

    March 25, 2014
    Val Powell
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American and Mexican scientists teamed up to create an engineered spring flood to allow the Colorado River to flow into Mexico again for the first time in six decades.

The Colorado River is the main river of the Southwestern United States, encompassing seven states. Famous for carving the Grand Canyon and for having intense whitewater rapids, the river is also a major source of water for agricultural and urban areas. While historically the river flowed into Mexico, numerous dams built over the last six decades have caused a massive rerouting and drying of the Colorado River delta.

Officials from the International Boundary Water Commission authorized the release of water from Lake Mead towards the delta. The manmade flood released on March 23 was a result of Minute 319, a 2012 agreement between the U.S. and Mexico as an amendment to their 1944 Water Treaty. It aimed primarily to resurrect the dried delta, but will also be used as a basis for the implementation of a five-year program that will extend the water flow to more areas.

Farmer Juan Butron Mendez, 63, recalls his childhood memories of the river’s rapid current. When his family returned to the area in the 1960s, there was barely any flow. The elders of the indigenous Cupacapa group—Cupacapa translating to “people of the river”—remember the river being deep and wide enough to carry boats. Now they can barely catch fish good for eating.

The flood is expected to provide habitat for various species of wildlife, including endangered birds. It will also benefit trees like cottonwood and willow, which have been dying off in the past few decades because of the lack of floodwater to carry their seeds.

The engineered flood is still a far cry from the natural current that used to flow into the Colorado River delta. Officials concede that it cannot be restored to how it was a hundred years ago.

Bringing Back the Colorado River

Image via Wikimedia Commons

  • Anthony Romano

    When the humans die off the river will return.

    • DDJ

      You first.

      • Anthony Romano

        No I insist after you.

    • J Clark

      Only the arrogance of man could believe, despite the Earths constant metamorphosis throughout time, that he can somehow freeze Nature’s processes in a state he finds pleasant.

      Rivers flow and ebb. Trees rise and fall. Species evolve and then fade away. What was once lush is now desert and vice versa. This has been Nature’s plan since the beginning of time, and so shall it forever be. Whether or not man brings about some of these inevitabilities is rather insignificant in the grand scheme of things.

      • A

        Nice poem, but it’s no secret that we are altering the Earth. Humans have quite an impact on the Earth, and it’s generally in a good way.

        • A

          Not* in a good way. Sorry

          • AngryFreebird

            You were right the first time.

        • Anthony Romano

          Our impact comes from our overwhelming utilization, or perhaps hording, of the earths finite resources. Which has allowed us to overpopulate like no other beast on the planet that we all belong. We made very little impact or modern progress until science replaced religion and when oil and gas was invented and the population exploded. We systematicly take the earth for granted and pollute all the earths water as if we could just go to the store forever buying bottles. All this in less than a 1000 years. Meanwhile raccoons have been around for 50 million years with no problem, Us, less than 50,000.

  • Confused

    Wasn’t there just a big news report about the drought and about Lake Meade being lower than it’s been for years? If you take water from areas that are producing food now and send it to areas that might produce food in the future, how does that help?

  • Anthony Romano

    We are so magnanimous in letting the other life forms have some water. This should be the rule rather than the exception.