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Face to Face

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The Central Arizona Project

The major tourist destination Lake Havasu is a reservoir constructed a big pumping station indicates the start of the Central Arizona Project (CAP).  This 336 mi (541 km) long diversion canal moves water from the Colorado River to central and southern Arizona. The CAP is the largest and most expensive aqueduct system ever constructed in the United States, and it is the single biggest consumer of energy in Arizona. Without it Phoenix would not have been able to grow to its current size of 1,5 million residents.

Photos: Ronald de Hommel / Johannes Abeling

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Greens on Red

Golf is a popular pass time with American retirees. And there are many of them in Phoenix, AZ where they flock to for the wonderful winter climate. So there are many golf courses as well. We counted a 150 in the Phoenix area. And most of them are watered with Colorado River water and surrounded by barren desert. See for yourself in Google earth where we marked them all.

Photo’s: Ronald de Hommel and Johannes Abeling

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Uses and abuses of water in Phoenix AZ

Phoenix Arizona, a city of 1,5 million inhabitants, is located in the northeastern reaches of the Sonoran Desert. It has the hottest climate of any major city in the United States. The city receives its water from the Colorado River through a 310 mile long (500km) water canal called the CAP (Central Arizona Project), that transports about 1.5 million acre-feet of Colorado River water per year.

Photo’s: Johannes Abeling and Ronald de Hommel

The Colorado River is the lifeline of the American Southwest. Its watershed covers seven states and Mexico. More than 100% of its water is used for recreation, agriculture and drinking water. the water is heavily recycled and re-used. Because of the over-use of the water the massive reservoirs, Lake Mead and Lake Powell have gone down in the past ten years to below 50% capacity.

Users that lose out on the water are nature and poorer areas. Great wetlands, like the river delta in Mexico, but also the Salton Sea in California have received hardly or no water in the last decades resulting in desertification and resettlement of population.

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