Colorado RiverColorado River, as one of the largest rivers began itsmassive formation as a small stream following cracks in the earth from meltingrichness of snow from the Rocky Mountains. The Colorado River has slowly carvedits vast course that spans 1,397.25 miles to date over the past 6 millionyears.
The basin has carved its distinct course through 2 billion years ofearth’s undisturbed crust which is divided into two regions, the Upper Basinand the Lower Basin which includes seven states-Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, NewMexico, Nevada and California. Over time the Colorado river has connected withtributaries-including Paria, San Juan, San Miguel, Dolores, Gunnison,Uncompahgre, Green, and Escalante Rivers-after naturally carving its uniquepath that eventually leads the river to empty out in the Gulf of California.Leading up to the river mouth approximately 17 miles of the river forms theinternational boundary between the U.
S. state of Arizona and Mexico. Just asthe seven states rely heavily on the river so does Mexico, which utilizes theriver to maintain up to 500,000 acres of farmland.
Throughout the river thereare two key hydroelectric dams, the Hoover and Glen Canyon Dam, which provideessential energy that produces an estimated 4,000 megawatts of hydroelectricity.The river attracts 20 million annual visitor days of recreation who utilize theriver for boating, fishing, jet skiing and many other boat related activities.Wicked Sustainability via ColoradoRiverThe Colorado River is lacking in some areas while beingcruelly exposed by human overuse, environmental issues play a big role in theecology, and poor river management techniques are leading to less capablewater. While the river is an overly-dispensed water resource, the water qualityof the river is endangered by agricultural strain, which upsurges the salinityof the river. Additionally, this dependency is amplified by climactic factors.As precipitation plays an x-factor and the rising temperatures allow forlimited amount of snowmelt to added, the rivers flow can only decrease, whichwill lead to a decrease in its storage availability.
The security of theriver’s surrounding environment that modestly acquires water is now on constantthreat due to aggressive species, such as the Tamarisk, or Salt Cedar whoutilize the water more harshly than native vegetation. Smaller unknownhydroelectric dams that are spread throughout the Colorado River tributariespotentially cause harm to the environment, while large dams are needed toproduce large amounts of energy. The loose management that has led the river tobe distributed among those who receive their water from the Colorado River aswell as receiving an unjust amount considering location and circumstance. Theseare issues that have to come in to the light so the people can get the localgovernment to motivate the state government to deal with this issue head on.
This must come into effect to ensure this water source is not depleted and issustainable for many more years. The best way to increase the chances ofsustainability along the Colorado River Lower Basin, is to manage the systemsthat distribute the Colorado Rivers water, the systems need to be effective andefficient enough that manage the utilization in a sustainable manner. The useof the rivers water for agriculture needs to be monitored by efficient systemto ensure water is not being over utilized or wasted, his will ensure balance.
With systems like this in place it is very likely that salinity levels willdecrease and increase amount of water in storage for primary and secondary usesuch as recreational use of the river by boating. With many tourist coming fromoutside of the inhabited area, it is up to the locals to reinforce thesustainability efforts. Significance of Caring I chosethis topic because I have been one of the tourist that has contributed to the20 million annual visitor days. The first time I rented a boat and maneuveredit was at Lake Mead. I seen first-hand the effect that are plaguing Lake Mead.I noticed the water levels had dropped significantly which made it hard for meto launch my boat without tearing up my engine with sand, rock and debris becauseof how shallow the water has become. I believe everyone should care about thisaspect of the Lower Basin because we as tourist come and don’t really think ofthe damage we may be doing to the river while enjoying our holiday.
Afterconcluding my research on this issue at hand that concerns the Lower Basin Ihave many question swirling around. After, I submit my individual assignment, Iam glad that I will be grouped up with students that will explore issues thatwill potentially answer my questions. A key question I have in particular iswhat can recreational river users do to help the local people to ensure thatthe river will be there in the future for each to benefit. I plan onresearching this question in depth as I dabble in each category presented forthis topic.