Stuff I Wrote Elsewhere: The Colorado River Delta

The experimental restart of the Bureau of Reclamation’s Yuma Desalting Plant, which should get underway after the first of the year, is more than a technical experiment in operating the big desalination equipment. It is, I think more importantly, a fascinating experiment in cross-border collaboration, as I describe in this morning’s paper (sub/ad req):

Beginning next year, a coalition of environmental groups and government agencies spanning the Mexican border will add water to the Colorado River delta to help preserve a 60-square-mile wetland.

In a region where water is almost invariably taken out of rivers for drinking, bathing and growing food, leaving water for the ecosystem is rare. Doing it voluntarily, without a legal mandate, is unprecedented, participants say.

“I think it’s the first of its kind,” Jennifer McCloskey, head of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s Yuma office, said of the agreement to pump 30,000 acre-feet of water over the next two years into the Cienega de Santa Clara.

Especially large hat tips on this story to Gregg Garfin, who first got me interested in the issue, and to Andy Revkin, who pointed me in Karl Flessa’s direction.