The lost river — The Guardian #ColoradoRiver #COriver #aridification #Mexico

Morelos Dam. Photo credit American Rivers.

Here’s a update about Mexican efforts to restore the Colorado River Delta from Nina Lakhani that’s running in The Guardian. Click through and read the whole article. Here’s an excerpt:

…the river is dammed [by Mexico’s Morelos Dam] at the US-Mexico border, and on the other side the river channel is empty. Locals are now battling to bring it back to life.

There are few more striking examples of what has come to be known as “environmental injustice” – the inequitable access to clean land, air and water, and disproportionate exposure to hazards and climate disasters. Water in particular has emerged as a flash point as global heating renders vast swaths of the planet ever drier…

Currently the river flow in Mexico is 0.5 cubic metres per second, a fraction of what it once was. Another pulse flow to help restore the river’s estuary and wetlands could happen in 2021/22…

Because the 1944 treaty did not allocate Mexico any water for the river itself, the channel is mostly dry. The loss of the river in Mexico has has been devastating…

At the Morelos dam, located between Los Algodones, Baja California and Yuma, Arizona, the river is diverted to a complex system of irrigation canals which nourish fields of cotton, wheat, alfalfa, asparagus, watermelons and date palms in the vast surrounding desert valley. This is good for farmers – and less so for ordinary Mexicans.

Following the dry riverbed south towards the Gulf of California evokes an eerie sadness. The sound of gunfire in one wide, dusty section led to a couple from San Diego hunting wild pigeons, and a bucketful of feathered corpses. A few miles west along dirt farm roads, dozens of herons, egrets and ducks were staking out a wonderfully lush wetland – though it is only an accidental byproduct created by agricultural runoff from surrounding wheat and alfalfa fields.

Martha Gomez-Sapiens, a monitoring team member and postdoctoral research associate in the UA Department of Geosciences, stands on a riverbank next to willows and cottonwoods that germinated as a result of the pulse flow. (Photo: Karl W. Flessa/UA Department of Geosciences)

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