U.S.A. and Mexico agree to share a shrinking Colorado River

Photo: People in Mexico gather to watch as the 2014 pulse flow moves across the dry Colorado River Delta. National Geographic Creative / Alamy Stock Photo

On a sunny March morning in 2014, dam operators lifted a gate on the Morelos Dam on the Colorado River, at the U.S.-Mexico border. Water gushed toward the river’s dry delta at the Gulf of California. This “pulse flow” coursed downstream for several weeks, nourishing cottonwood and willow saplings and boosting bird and other wildlife populations.

Though most of the water soaked through the parched riverbed to aquifers below, enough remained aboveground to allow the river to meet the gulf for the first time since the late 1990s. That reminded people throughout the basin of the Colorado’s importance — and how humans have altered it.

The 2012 international agreement that made the flow possible and addressed other river-management issues expires at the end of 2017. Officials, however, are expected to sign a new pact in the coming weeks. That deal, called “Minute 323,” will extend and expand the previous agreement — and reduce the risk of a catastrophic water shortage that could leave fields and faucets dry.

The Colorado River winds 1,450 miles through the U.S. and Mexico. It’s a […]

More about upstream/downstream issues:

SCOTUS: Upstream States to Reduce River Usage, Aid Downstream States in Drought

What drought? These states are gearing up to draw more water from the Colorado.

The Valley floor is sinking, and it’s crippling California’s ability to deliver water

What logging does to your water

Iowa’s water quality problems: What you need to know

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U.S.A. and Mexico agree to share a shrinking Colorado River
2012 agreement made Colorado River flow possible & addressed river-management issues. It expires 2017. Officials are expected to sign new pact "Minute 323."
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High Country News
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