Preserving the Environment

A Landmark Project Brings Water Back to the Colorado River

April 3, 2014
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A Landmark Project Brings Water Back to the Colorado River
David McNew/Getty Images
An agreement between the United States and Mexico breathes life into parched earth south of the border.

Visit the Colorado riverbed in northwest Mexico this spring, and you’ll see something that hasn’t been witnessed in the area for decades: Flowing water.

The Los Angeles Times reports that authorities recently opened the gates of the Morelos Dam that sits between the international boundary of Yuma, Ariz., and Los Algodones, Mexico, with the goal of pouring 105,000 acre-feet of water into the barren Mexican side of the delta for eight weeks.

Besides the welcome sight of water, there are even signs of wildlife such as hawks, egrets, ospreys and beavers, the newspaper reports.

MORE: Robert Redford and Will Ferrell Team Up to Save Colorado River

This thirst-quenching move has been described by the Associated Press as a “landmark agreement” between the United States and Mexico, who are putting aside their bickering over water rights in an effort to restore the wetlands and wildlife that once flourished south of the border.

Conservationists are hailing this project as a victory. “Never before have we deliberately sent water below the Morelos Dam … to benefit the environment,” Jennifer Pitt of the Environmental Defense Fund, who was involved with the flooding project, wrote on her blog, according to the AP. “By abandoning the old framework of ‘who gets what’ and establishing cooperative management of our shared resource, the U.S. and Mexico are achieving benefits for communities and nature alike.”

At a time when the water-pinched West is experiencing a devastating drought, this restoration project can’t come soon enough.
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