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As the Salton Sea shrinks, it leaves behind a toxic reminder of the cost...

Scientists fear that eventually the toxic residue of more than a century of agricultural runoff will be blown into the air — and into the lungs of residents.
The Colorado River delta in Baja California is a mosaic of old river channels, tidal salt flats, and runoff from agricultural fields to the north. PHOTO BY TED WOOD

Crisis on the Colorado Part V: Bringing New Life to a Stressed River

The Colorado River has been dammed, diverted, and slowed by reservoirs, strangling the life out of a once-thriving ecosystem. But in the U.S. and Mexico, efforts are underway to revive sections of the river and restore vital riparian habitat for native plants, fish, and wildlife.

Crisis on the Colorado Part IV: In Era of Drought, Phoenix Prepares for a...

Once criticized for being a profligate user of water, fast-growing Phoenix has taken some major steps — including banking water in underground reservoirs, slashing per-capita use, and recycling wastewater — in anticipation of the day when the flow from the Colorado River ends.
A canal diverts water from the Colorado River to farms in Palisade, Colorado. TED WOOD

Crisis on the Colorado Part III: Running Dry– New Strategies for Conserving Water

Communities along the Colorado River are facing a new era of drought and water shortages that is threatening their future. With an official water emergency declaration now possible, farmers, ranchers, and towns are searching for ways to use less water and survive.
After two decades of drought, Lake Mead, which is impounded by Hoover Dam, is just 40 percent full. A “bathtub ring” visible along the edges of the lake show how far its water levels have dropped. PHOTO BY TED WOOD. SUPPORT FOR AERIAL PHOTOGRAPHS PROVIDED BY LIGHTHAWK

Crisis on the Colorado Part II: On a Water-Starved River, Drought Is the New...

With the Southwest locked in a 19-year drought and climate change making the region increasingly drier, water managers and users along the Colorado River are facing a troubling question: Are we in a new, more arid era when there will never be enough water?

Crisis on the Colorado Part I: The West’s Great River Hits Its Limits– Will...

As the Southwest faces rapid growth and unrelenting drought, the Colorado River is in crisis, with too many demands on its diminishing flow. Now those who depend on the river must confront the hard reality that their supply of Colorado water may be cut off.

A dry subject: how scientists map drought conditions

Scientists have a variety of measures of drought, but some are starting to use the term "aridification" to describe the long-term drying of the Southwest.

Western states buy time with a 7-year Colorado River drought plan, but face a...

The Drought Contingency Plan for the Colorado River is a historic agreement but it has some serious shortcomings.