An initiative of the Center for Environmental Journalism at the University of Colorado Boulder

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Multimedia library

We’re building a library of free-to-use multimedia assets that includes photos, videos, charts, graphics, maps and other visual content that can help tell the story of water, especially in the American West and Colorado River Basin.

We welcome you to browse our content and subscribe to our email newsletter for updates when we publish new material.

Photo collections

Browse photo galleries and download high-resolution imagery for reuse by qualified organizations.

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Drone videos and photos: Gila River near Winkelman, Arizona

This page features drone footage and still imagery of the Gila River, near Winkelman, Arizona, just upstream from...

Aerial photos and videos: Lake Mead and Hoover Dam, July 2020

This page features images and footage shot with a GoPro camera during a pilot-only Lighthawk flight above Lake...

Video footage

Original resolution video for editing and reuse by qualified publishers.

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Drone videos and photos: Gila River near Winkelman, Arizona

This page features drone footage and still imagery of the Gila River, near Winkelman, Arizona, just upstream from...

Aerial photos and videos: Lake Mead and Hoover Dam, July 2020

This page features images and footage shot with a GoPro camera during a pilot-only Lighthawk flight above Lake...

Data visualization

The Water Desk provides original data visualizations for downloading or embedding, and surveys the best of western water data viz and maps.

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Data viz: explore our interactive dashboards for drought, precipitation and snowpack

These maps and visualizations let you interact with vital data on our water supply.

Data viz: surveying Colorado River Basin maps

This collection of Colorado River Basin maps includes public domain images and other cartographic resources for depicting the watershed.

Multimedia stories

Stories using multimedia produced or collected by The Water Desk. These are available for republication by qualifying organizations.

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Troubled Waters

The Trump administration’s new definition of “waters of the United States” dramatically shrinks federal protection of many wetlands and waterways under the Clean Water Act. The rule change cuts red tape for farmers and developers but could threaten ecosystems and drinking water, especially in the arid West.
Video story: The value of water

Video story: The value of water (full length)

With population growth around Denver prompting fierce competition for water, investors want to import a new supply from the San Luis Valley, but many farmers and ranchers who depend on that water are opposed to the plan.

Video story: California’s vanishing lake (full length)

Water conservation in California’s southern desert is causing an environmental disaster as the Salton Sea quickly shrinks.
video still

Video story: When in drought, call the beavers

Beaver reintroduction and restoration can help with some of the West's most profound water problems, both in terms of quantity and quality. A trial program is underway at Caribou Ranch in Boulder County.

Video story: Cooling the Yampa river (full length)

As climate change brings warmer weather, Westerners are looking for ways to protect the region’s rivers and streams. In a special report for the Water Desk, Jerd Smith of Fresh Water News explains a strategy for safeguarding Colorado’s Yampa River.

Decades later, abandoned mines continue to haunt Colorado’s waterways

According to a 2017 study, there are over 23,000 abandoned mines across Colorado and 1,800 miles of streams that are impaired due to pollutants related to acid mine drainage.