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The Colorado River Essay

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One of the largest geographic physical structures in the United States is the Colorado River. Human activity and its interaction with this great river have an interesting history. The resources provided by the river have been used by humans, and caused conflict for human populations as well. One of these conflicts is water distribution, and the effects drought conditions have played in this distribution throughout the southwestern region. Major cities such as Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Diego, and other communities in the southwest depend on the river. It provides water for over 20 million people, irrigation for 2 million acres of land, four thousand megawatts of hydroelectric energy, and over twenty million annual visitors for recreation purposes. Also, once in Mexico, the river provides water to irrigate half a million acres of farmland, and municipal and industrial water for 2 million people living in this delta region. The river distributes its flow from lakes and canals along its journey as well. Due to climate change, human demand, natural forces like evaporation and human-induced climate change this water supply is in conflict. Also, a recent change that began in March of 2014 will bring a temporary water surge to the delta of the Colorado River for the first time in many years to help restore this region, and it’s possible it could reach the Sea of Cortez once again.
The Colorado River is a very large river that encompasses a 246,000 square mile river basin region in the southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico (Shannon, 2014). It runs for a total of 1,450 miles and travels through many land boundaries starting with Colorado where it originates. This origin is located in Rocky Mountain National Park a...


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...e Drying of the American Southwest | Center for Immigration Studies." Center for Immigration Studies. Web.

"Geography of the Colorado River." About.com Geography. Web. Apr. 2014.
MacDonald, Glen. "Water, Climate Change, and Sustainability in the Southwest." Water, Climate Change, and Sustainability in the Southwest. "Divvying Up the Mighty Colorado." NPR. NPR.

"Water Shortages Loom in Southwest, Could Trigger Cuts." Water Shortages Loom in Southwest, Could Trigger Cuts
Effluent and Influent Streams. Web. 07 Apr. 2014.

Wescoat, Jr. James L. "Economic Development." Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Encyclopedia Britannica.

"Dwindling Colorado River Forces First-Ever Cuts in Lake Powell Water Releases." The Weather Channel.

"8 Mighty Rivers Run Dry From Overuse." National Geographic.

"What Is the Continental Divide?" What Is the Continental Divide? Apr. 2014.



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