Magazine
The Colorado River as plumbing

November 10, 1986

Part 4 of the award-winning four-issue series Western Water Made Simple.

Feature

Download entire issue
... to read the essays, news stories and other articles in the issue, including the sampling below
The Bureau's Rube Goldberg machines
In the high arid plains of southwest Wyoming, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation has built Rube Goldberg irrigation systems that keep farmers on the edge of poverty and load up the rivers with salt.
They built better than they knew
The upper Colorado River was plumbed to put water on arid lands and to generate electricity. Today those uses are in decline while recreation, urbanization and aesthetics come on strong. Through luck or forethought, the river's plumbing is proving adaptable to the new demands.
Sharing water with the colossus of the North
An account of the settlement of Mexico's Mexicali Valley; the escape and subsequent recapture of the Colorado River in the early 1900s; the shattering of a made-in-the-U.S.A. hacienda; and the settlement of an international dispute over the river's saltiness.
What size shoe does and acre-foot wear?
A glossary of water terms for those who wonder why water diversions are not diverting and why it is morally offensive to leave water flowing in a stream.
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