August 23, 2016--The Colorado River conveys as much politics as it does water (

Water.  We harness its power from mighty rivers.  We experience its wrath in the form of hurricanes and tsunamis.  We enjoy it for recreation.  We rely on daily intake of water for our very existence.  Water can be the flashpoint for contentious political battles, local conflicts, and even war. On the Colorado River, our nation’s largest reservoir has dropped to its lowest level since it was built in 1936.  Up river our nation’s second largest reservoir is half-full. Climate change is driving disruption of our water cycle, meaning how water is redistributed around our planet through evaporation, condensation, return-flow, and re-evaporation.  We are finding that it is getting hotter and colder and wetter and drier than historic norms around the globe.  Climate change induced disruption to our water cycle leads to the potential for political, economic, and environmental chaos as well.  This is the case with the Colorado River which flows through the Grand Canyon. The Grand Canyon is the most stupendous chasm on our planet.  Whether you are starring down from the south rim at the tiny slither of water a mile beneath or riding the raging waters of that river looking up at the pancake layers of geologic history, the Canyon is breathtaking. Geologists have proposed different hypotheses for how the Colorado River became a through-flowing river within the great chasm we now call the “Grand Canyon”.  Regardless, what we do know is that through the action of plate tectonics some 30 to 70 billion years ago, the entire region uplifted to form the high, relatively flat Colorado Plateau.  The Canyon formed through subsequent down-cutting, erosion, and weathering. That river sleuthing through the Canyon now conveys as much politics as it does water.  The Law of the River dates back to the 1922 Colorado River Pact which apportioned water between the resource-rich in-flow of the Upper Basin headwaters and the water-hungry Lower Basin.  Water here is regarded as a commodity that can be bought and sold. To view the full article visit the