Jonathan Waterman is the author of the book Running Dry about the Colorado River. Waterman, who infected his feet in the polluted remains of the drying river, walked with the photographer Pete McBride down the last 60 miles of delta. The once rich estuary and its wetlands have been reduced by 95 percent since dam construction. The river has not reached the Sea of Cortez for more than a decade, with the exception of several days of rare flooding combined with cancelled farm orders. Still, conservationists on either side of the border are working to bring pulse flows to the delta and restore a river, along with a once beautiful estuary — lost to the farms and cities upstream. The following is the second of two excerpts from the book.
Pete McBride next to an abandoned fishing boat on the dried up Colorado River delta in Mexico.Photo courtesy of Jonathan WatermanWe move southwest, averaging 15 miles a day, stringing together irrigation canals that vaguely point toward the Gulf of California. Half of the time, we’re lost in the dried-out maze of riverbeds cut by farm fields, canals, roads, and railroad tracks. Pete flags down a pickup truck and asks ... Read more