COLORADO RIVER’S SPRING TRANSITION FROM SNOW BIRDS TO RIVER RATS
Waverunners with California backdrop
Arizona Shoreline north of Parker
SPRING BREAK, is a nation-wide popular rite of SPRING, at Lake Havasu on the Colorado River, it also begins the transition from the quiet SNOWBIRDS to a long-summer infestation of RIVER RATS. Talked with one winter visitor who parks his RV Bus on a strip of dirt called Imperial County long term parking and he and 900 other vehicles or approximately 1800-2000 people hang out and prowl the hills looking for birds and bighorns. When winter ends my RV Visiter, former military from Conneticut, drives it ten miles north to the :Yuma Proving Grounds and parks it there for the summer at $40 a month. He son from Gilbert, AZ picks him up there and puts him on a plane in Phoenix til next year. Further up the road on the Arizona side, in Quartzite, gem sales popup everywhere and between 20-25,000 RV’s showup and park in the warm winter sun, creating a city in early January of 50,000 campers. LAKE HAVASU which sits on the Arizona side of the lake and borders California this year is also in the nation’s theaters with PIRANHA 3D, a hi-tech view of the river community during spring break but then fish start eating people-there are lots of half-eaten folks-strange PR—but the best press you don’t read—you simply weigh it. Much like fishing, don’t tell me about some fish you caught, put it on the scale.
Today nearly 17 million people depends upon the water of the Colorado River’s 80 percent of these folks live in Phoenix and Tucson and Las Vegas and Los Angeles.
Hoover Dam in 1931 was the greatest engineering accomplishment of it’s time and made it all possible. It’s 726’ height and 1244’ length dams up the greatest river in the American SouthWest, the Rio Colorado, whose headwaters 1450 miles north in Colorado, drains almost a quarter million square miles. The Dam, enjoys seven million visitors a year, and has enough concrete (4.5 million cubic yards) in Hoover Dam to build a two-lane road cross-country from Seattle to Miami. Lake Mead has added 550 miles of shoreline behind the dam and has a capacity of 1.25 trillion cubic feet of water that could cover the state of Pennsylvania one foot deep. It is the largest reservoir in the United States.
Roughly 60 million people today live in the American South West amongst with the ruins of civilizations that were brought to their knees by severe droughts experienced frequently in this region over the last 2,000 years. Droughts serve as stark reminders of just how inhospitable the great American desert can be. Previous catastrophic droughts occurred in times free from the influence of global warming and the increasing aridity that many scientists predict will bring new challenges to living in the southwest.
ARIZONA River houses
The Colorado River has long been the lifeline of the American South West, the watershed covers seven states and Mexico. More than 100% of its water today is used for recreation, agriculture and drinking water. Heavily recycle, the water is constantly re-used. Because of over-use the massive reservoirs, Lake Mead and Lake Powell have gone down in the past decade to half capacity. When the Colorado River was divided up in 1922, more water was awarded than actually exists most years, and the recent drought make those numbers worse moving into a period of “global warming” clearly the golden period of water has past. Last year’s rainfall and snow melt are now predicted to cover the region’s needs but last year it was feared CAP water allotments might be necessarily cut due to shortages at Lake Mead. Nature and the poorer regions like Mexico receive less and less. The South West view that money flows uphill toward money is seen by the unchecked growth of LAS VEGAS, NEVADA and today water flows to where man demands rather than to where nature intended, a tradition that began at the turn of the century and continues today. But can it be sustained ? Warnings have been made that Lake Mead, the largest reservoir in the United States, could feasibly run dry with catastrophic economic implications to the Southwest.