Forum > Interlinking of Rivers > The American Experience

Posted by Susan Sharma on September 03, 2005


The delta of the Colorado river basin has shrunk to 5% of its historic size thanks to intensive river diversions that have spelt a death knell to the people, flora and fauna of the region.

Since 1960, the river has reached the sea only during rare flood years, more usually ending just south of the US border in a few stagnant pools of pesticide and salt- laced agricultural runoff. Due to intensive irrigation in desert lands, waters have become extremely saline.

A $256 million desalination plant was set up at Yuma, Arizona to desalinate the water in 1992. It was shut down in 1993 after floods destroyed drains and brought in saline water. The Bureau of Reclamation’s ‘salinity control program’ had cost tax-payers $660 million by 1993.

An $8 billion plan has been passed in California to revive some of its rivers. ( source: The Environmental Magazine)

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