Colorado River Finally Meets Gulf of California for First Time in 16 Years

Colorado River Finally Meets Gulf of California for First Time in 16 Years

For the first time in at least 16 years, the Colorado River met the sea on Thursday. Water conservationists are elated after sending water from the Colorado River to the Sea of Cortez. It was a flood experiment that saw water travelling nearly 100 miles from a barren delta at the Morelos Dam just south of where California, Arizona and Mexico meet.

A bi-national agreement made it possible after years of negotiations. The water was about 2 river miles from the sea as of Thursday morning.

Water conservationists released enough water on March 23 to supply over 200,000 homes for a year. This will help in reviving trees, wildlife and aquatic life that have been troubled after the delta dried up decades ago. Water supply has not been regular into the Sea of Cortez in more than 50 years. Water was sent down after emergence of floods in 1983 and another flood dramatically increased the flow.

Conservationists said that it will take years before the water will start providing the environmental benefits. However, residents in the town of San Luis Rio Colorado in the Mexican state of Sonora are extremely happy and gathering at the river ever since the flow started.

"Maybe the more immediate impact was the story of the communities coming back to their river which had been missing for so long, and kids coming to see the river that they have never seen before", said Jennifer Pitt, director of the Colorado River Project.

Colorado River is the main source of water supply for seven US states including Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming. Also, the Mexican states of Baja California and Sonora rely on the Colorado River for water.

Sally Spener, a spokeswoman for the International Boundary and Water Commission, said that it is really good news that the water released in March has continued to flow.

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