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Living Rivers Currents
January 17, 2002

Colorado River Water Users Meeting: Environment Gains Recognition

Living Rivers' David Orr working the CRWUA faithful
Living Rivers' David Orr working the CRWUA faithful
LRC V2, N1, January 2002

Just a few short years ago the ecological and social values of the Colorado River delta were barely acknowledged. At this year?s Colorado River Water Users Association (CRWUA) annual conference, nearly every speaker addressed the environmental issues of the delta, even though no advocacy group was invited to speak on its behalf. But we were there nonetheless. In the halls, business meetings and press briefing, LIVING RIVERS took every opportunity to advance the cause of the delta and other critical environmental and social issues not being addressed by agencies using and managing the Colorado River.

Gilbert Sanchez of Tribal Environmental Watch Alliance told journalists during the LIVING RIVERS press briefing that ?The cultural heritage of Indian people is threatened by water development projects. All this damage, and for what? Much of this water is stored just to evaporate into the sky. Ancestral gravesites should not be sacrificed for more golf courses, backyard swimming pools and hayfields in the desert.?

Yamilett Carrillo-Guerrero, of ProNatura Sonora, a Mexican environmental protection group, echoed these concerns. ?Local communities in the delta are ready to contribute with land and water to help restore the delta. For them, a river with water means life. In no way do they consider water nurturing the Colorado River delta wetlands and the Upper Gulf of California as wasted,? said Ms. Carrillo-Guerrero.

LIVING RIVERS presented a letter to CRWUA?s board on behalf of the binational coalition working for delta restoration, seeking a partnership with the association in working to move more water to the Colorado River delta. Although some members expressed opposition, the board did invite a formal presentation on the proposal for its spring meeting. Pat Mulroy, Director of the Southern Nevada Water Authority, noted that water agencies indeed need to start paying attention. ?Environmental responsibility is the job of every water manager,? she said. ?Those who are demanding to have their voices heard are not our traditional customers.?

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Living Rivers    PO Box 466     Moab, UT 84532     435.259.1063