Jon Waterman: ‘In 2008 I tried to float the length of the [Colorado] river to the sea but had to walk the last week of the trip’


I get to meet the most interesting people while blogging about Colorado water issues. At the recent Colorado Water Congress Annual Convention I was able to snag some face time with author — and lover of the Colorado River — Jon Waterman. I was surprised and flattered when he said that he had read Coyote Gulch. We exchanged email addresses with an eye towards staying in touch. Yesterday, Jon wrote in email:

My valentine to the river, with a link on my website to to petition officials to send water to the delta.

The link is to an opinion piece by Waterman running in the New York Times. Click through and read the whole thing. Here’s an excerpt:

Until 1998 the Colorado regularly flowed south along the Arizona-California border into a Mexican delta, irrigating farmlands and enriching a wealth of wildlife and flora before emptying into the Gulf of California. But decades of population growth, climate change and damming in the American Southwest have now desiccated the river in its lowest reaches, turning a once-lush Mexican delta into a desert…

Officials from Mexico and the United States are now talking about ways to increase the flow into the delta. With luck, someday it may reach the sea again…

In 2008 I tried to float the length of the 1,450-mile river to the sea but had to walk the last week of the trip. Pools stagnated in the cracked riverbed. Like the 30 million other Americans who depend on the river, I worry about drinking water — but I also worry about the sorry inheritance we are leaving future generations…

Jonathan Waterman is the author of “Running Dry: A Journey From Source to Sea Down the Colorado River.”

More Colorado River basin coverage here.

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