The Colorado River

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The Colorado River is the seventh longest river. In the 1920’s Western states began dividing up the water in the Colorado River by building dams and divert river flow to San Diego, Phoenix, and other large cities in order to supply water to these cities. In the past the river has been known for being a major source of water and electricity. The Colorado River passes through Utah, Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, California, Baja California, and Sonora. During the past decade a drought has been sweeping the Southwest resulting in a lowered river level. The Colorado River still goes through the Grand Canyon. The river is a total of 1,450 miles long. The headwaters of the Colorado River can be found in La Poudre Pass Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado (“Geography of the Colorado River”). The delta of this river is located in the Gulf of California in Mexico; today this delta is mainly dry due to the removal of water of irrigation and city uses (“Geography of the Colorado River”).
Humans have lived around the Colorado River basin for thousands of years. The river was first noted in documents in 1539 and first given the name Colorado in 1743 ("Geography of the Colorado River"). During the 1800s and 1900s explorations of the river took place and in 1921 it was reamed from the Grand River to the Colorado River ("Geography of the Colorado River"). The flow of the Colorado River has created many canyons. One of the most notable canyons that have been created is the Grand Canyon. The river’s uses include power generation, irrigation, municipal, industrial use, flood control, and recreation. This water is used by people in the areas surrounding the river as the water is diverted for their use. Some of the politics su...

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...groundwater collections (“Water Returns to the Dry Colorado River”). Pulse flow leads to the rehabilitation of the river bed and the increase in water level.
The largest water quality issue of the Colorado River is salinity and selenium (“Water Availability: A Matter of Quantity, Quality and Use”). These issues pose long term threats such as water availability, plant growth and crop yield effects, infrastructure damage, water quality reduction, and taste and odor concerns (“Water Availability: A Matter of Quantity, Quality and Use”). To reduce this problem, federal agencies and the Colorado Basin States are working together in order to put salinity control projects into place to reduce the amount of salt entering the river; this process is said to save economic damages by about $100 million per year (“Water Availability: A Matter of Quantity, Quality and Use”).