Here’s a look back at Minute 319 and the Colorado River pulse flow from Luke Runyon that’s running on the KUNC website. Click through and read the whole article. Here’s an excerpt:
In 2014, the Colorado River did something it hadn’t done in decades. For a few short weeks that spring, the overdrawn, overallocated river reached the Pacific Ocean.
Instead of diverting the river’s last bit of water toward farm fields, the final dam on the Colorado River at the Mexican border lifted, and water inundated nearly 100 miles of the dry riverbed. It was called the pulse flow, meant to mimic a spring flood.
In 2010, an earthquake in northern Mexico set in motion a big change in how people think about the lowest reaches of the Colorado River. The quake destroyed irrigation canals, leaving farmers unable to use all of their water. As the result of an emergency agreement, Mexico began storing its share in U.S. reservoirs. After another international agreement, Mexican and American officials decided that, as an experiment, the surplus water should temporarily flow into the river’s driest reaches.
The water’s life-giving effects spilled beyond the river’s banks. Kids who’d never seen it in its natural channel, splashed and played. Spontaneous festivals came to life. Birds returned, and trees and marshes greened up.
But the moment was fleeting. Within a few months, the majority of the delta was dry once again.