Colorado River Hydrosphere Essay

Colorado River Hydrosphere Essay

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Colorado River Hydrosphere

A case study of

* River management

* People interfering in the hydrosphere

* Balancing water from one area to another

The Colorado river - basic facts

It flows through southwest United States and northwestern Mexico.

It is 2334 km (1450 miles long), the longest river west of the Rocky

Its source is west of the Rocky Mountains which is the watershed in
northern Colorado, and, for the first 1600km (1000miles) of its
course, passes through a series of deep gorges and canyons that were
created by the eroding force of its current.

The river flows in a generally southwestern direction across Colorado
into south eastern Utah, where it is joined by its chief tributary,
The Green River. After crossing the northern portion of Arizona, the
Colorado flows west for 436 km (271 miles) through the majestic Grand
Canyon. Then it flows in a generally southerly direction and forms the
boundary between Arizona and the states on Nevada and California. Near
Yuma, Arizona, the river crosses the international border into Mexico
and flows for about 145km (90 miles) to its mouth on the Gulf of

The River Colorado drains parts of 7 states, a total area in Colorado,
Wyoming, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico and California, of about
626,800sq km.

What controls / how have people controlled the flow ?

20 dams have been built, many of them by the U.S. Bureau of
Reclamation, along the River and the tributaries.

The Hoover Dam, which holds back at the Black Canyon to form the
reservoir Lake Mead,

one of the largest artificial lakes in the world.

The Glen Canyon D...

... middle of paper ...

...nts for profit along the river's course
can hardly complain when a river flows where it's supposed to go.

How is development creating longer term problems for groundwater
storage ?

Cities like Phoenix and Las Vegas are built in the desert. This whole
process relies on water from two sources:

1. River water pumped from the Colorado system

2. Groundwater held in aquifers below ground.

Modern technology has allowed engineers to drill deep below into
aquifers. However, more water is being drawn out of the underground
reservoirs than is being filled by rainwater infiltrating and river
water soaking underground. This means for the cities to carry on
growing technology has to go even deeper. Planners are now beginning
to question how much more development can take place as future
technology will have limits.

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