From Peak to Peek


Though not within the purview of this particular study of water conflicts in Mexico, Long’s Peak rises in my backyard as a reminder of the juxtaposition of Nature’s majesty and the barren wasteland that lies at the end of her convoluted resource chain.

It is from this peak that the headwaters of the Colorado River flow, winding their way through Colorado, Utah, Nevada, Arizona and California, before crossing the cartographer’s line into Mexico.

En route, the Colorado is diverted, reverted, pumped, dumped, silted, salted and dammed, until it sludges onto formerly productive agricultural lands south of the border: “The Colorado, a river whose importance is absurdly disproportionate to its size, has the worst problem with salt of any American river.” [Marc Reisner in Cadillac Desert at 460.]

Treaties and litigation appear to have had little long-term mitigating impact on a burgeoning resource allocation and preservation issue that pits power brokers against politicians, farmers against taxpayers, and peoples of states and countries against one another.

The views at either end of the Colorado River’s tortuous journey through time, furrows and canyons, could not be more diverse .   It will be interesting to see whether the conflicts that are carried downstream along this river and its tributaries bear any resemblance to those that we will encounter as we launch upon our own travels through time and space.

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