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HomeWorld newsColorado River in Crisis: A series on the future of the limited...

Colorado River in Crisis: A series on the future of the limited water source to tens of millions of people



The Colorado River can no longer withstand the thirst of the arid West. Water drawn from the river flows to more than 40 million people in cities from Denver to Los Angeles and irrigates more than 4 million acres of farmland.

For decades, the river has been entirely used up, leaving dusty stretches of desert where it once flowed to the sea in Mexico. Now, chronic overuse and the effects of climate change are pushing the river system toward potential collapse as reservoirs drop to dangerously low levels. A water reckoning is about to transform the landscape of the Southwest.

Colorado River in Crisis is a series of stories, videos and podcasts in which Los Angeles Times journalists travel throughout the river’s watershed, from the headwaters in the Rocky Mountains to the river’s dry delta in Mexico. These stories reveal the stark toll of the river’s decline, responses that have yet to match the scale of the crisis, and voices that are urging a fundamental rethinking of how water is managed and used to adapt to the reality of a river that is over-tapped and dwindling.



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