Robert Redford and Will Ferrell Ludicrously Debate How to Help the Colorado River Delta Fun way to tackle a dry subject

Robert Redford and Will Ferrell use some new tactics to get attention to the dried up Colorado delta.

the goal of the video is to attract attention to Redfords organization to bring the Colorado delta back to life. On their website they write:

If we can add a relatively small amount of water to the Colorado — less than 1% of its annual flow — we’ll be on our way to restoring 2,300 acres of forest and marsh along a 70-mile stretch of river, generating rural economic activities and job opportunities for local people, including river restoration, tourism, recreational hunting, and sport and commercial fisheries.

Help us breathe life back into the Delta and let’s watch it grow.

Our goal is to raise $10 million by 2017.

The money will be used to conduct essential restoration work, such as putting native trees in the ground, and for the purchase of permanent water rights dedicated to the Delta.

In meeting our goal, we will rebuild the habitats that support local communities and wildlife.

The Delta is the most broken reach of the Colorado. If we can fix the Delta, we can demonstrate that no place is beyond hope.

Join us in rewriting history. Let’s raise the river.

Here on Disputed Waters you can read Olivier’s article ‘Those who lived on the river‘ for a personal insight into (former) life in the delta.


It’s only getting worse

It’s been a few years since we covered the Colorado River, but our message has lost none of it’s urgency as this video illustrates. Lake mead is again at an all time low and the meagre snow pack in the Rocky mountains doesn’t promise any good for the coming summer. Unless the American west will get an extremely wet spring, the water levels in the reservoirs in the Colorado River will only go down more this year.


Special mention for Disputed Waters at Canon Prize for innovative journalism

Disputed Waters got a special recommendation from the Jury of The Canon Prize for innovative Journalism, (part of ‘the Silver Camera’ contest, the Dutch equivalent of World Press Photo).


…naar het idee van de jury wel voorbeelden van projecten die laten zien wat er mogelijk is als  fotografie, bewegend beeld en geschreven woorden een pact vormen.

De jury hecht aan een speciale vermelding voor DISPUTED WATERS van Ronald de Hommel, Johannes Abeling en Célia Pernot…

In English:

…According to the jury an example of what is possible when photography, moving images and words form a pact together. The jury emphasizes a special mention to DISPUTED WATERS of Ronald de Hommel, Johannes Abeling and Célia Pernot…

Check it for yourself at: or: (both in Dutch).

Last year Ronald and Johannes won a prize in the Zilveren Camera Photo Contest with a series of Colorado Aerial photos.

Only the names of the photographers are mentioned because it’s a photographer’s prize. But the honor goes to all the makers of Disputed Waters!





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


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.


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.


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’.



“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



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


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