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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

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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