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Colorado
Gross Reservoir

The Rockies

The lush green slopes of the Rocky Mountains are the source of almost all the water that keeps the American Southwest alive. The winter snowpack slowly melts over the year, guaranteeing a steady supply of water for its many rivers of which the Colorado is the most important. If temperatures rise through climate change, there may not be any snow in a few decades. The winter precipitation will immediately run off, leaving the summers dry and hot without enough water. Photos: Ronald de Hommel

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Colorado
Bottom of the Glen Canyon Dam, near Page, AZ.

Human Alterations

After the Shadow Mountain Dam, the first dam on the Colorado River, high in the Rocky Mountains, there is nothing natural about the river anymore. Its flow is completely regulated by humans. It is the main plumbing system of the American Southwest, featuring some of the most famous water works in the world.

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Colorado
Horseshoe bend in the Colorado

Recreation On and Along the Colorado River

Recreation on the Colorado River is a very important revenue generator for the American southwest.

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Colorado
Golf course from the air

Where does the water go?

With this series of aerial photos Ronald and Johannes won the second prize in the Dutch ‘Zilveren Camera’ photo contest in the category ‘foreign documentary series’.

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Colorado
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“We sell Virtual Reality”

The Las Vegas Strip uses 3% of al the water in Las Vegas. Pat Mulroy, director of the Southern Nevada Water Authority praises the cooperation of the Casino owners in her efforts to curb water waste.

Photo’s: Johannes Abeling and Ronald de Hommel

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Colorado
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Farming with Colorado water

Irrigated farmland is the biggest consumer of Colorado River water. Throughout the Southwest millions of acres are watered to produce water thirsty crops like lettuce, cotton and alfalfa. The dry and warm climate makes several harvests a year possible. So there’s always a big conflict between the opposition that says you shouldn’t grow lettuce in the desert and the farmers that emphasize their productivity.

Photo’s: Ronald de Hommel and Johannes Abeling

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Colorado
Four million birds are estimated to use the lake daily in winter.

The enchanting Salton Sea

The Salton Sea is one of the last remaining wetlands in California and an important resting area for migrating birds of the Pacific Flyway. Four million birds are estimated to use the lake daily in winter. In summer the water temperature of the shallow lake rises so high that millions of Tilapia die from lack of oxygen. Other fish spieces have disappeared years ago they couldn’t survive the salt level of more than 30% higher than the Pacific Ocean.

Photo’s: Johannes Abeling and Ronald de Hommel

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Colorado
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Greetings from the Salton Sea

In the 1950’s and 60’s, The Salton Sea was promoted as the Riviera of California. Hundreds of thousands flocked to its warm shores where fishing and boating were popular activities.

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Colorado
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Dry, drier, driest…

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Colorado
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Face to Face

Images can say more than a thousand words. And sometimes two images together can convey the whole message. Here a few double images that illustrate the conflict between the different uses of Colorado River water. Other combinations just work nicely together visually.  Photos: Johannes Abeling and Ronald de Hommel.

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