‹‹ Parched

A River for the Future

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Across the U.S.-Mexico border, the Colorado River once flowed freely into the ocean. When the freshwater and saltwater met, it created an explosion of life in the desert! But most of that lushness dried up when people used up the river. We meet people who have worked for decades to restore parts of the delta's lost wetlands. They created a historic agreement between the two countries that designates some river water for the environment. That means that sometimes, this dry delta flows with water again, and occasionally, the river meets the ocean.

For more CPR News coverage of the Colorado River, visit cpr.org/parched.

Host: Michael Elizabeth Sakas
Written by Michael Elizabeth Sakas
Editors: Erin Jones, Joe Wertz
Production and Mixing: Emily Williams
Additional Production: Erin Jones and Rachel Estabrook
In-Country Interpreter: Jesús Galaz
Tape Translator: Carlos Aguilar
Voiceovers: Jean Inaba and Jessie Jacobs
Theme song by Kibwe Cooper. Additional music via Universal Production Music.
Artwork: Maria Juliana Pinzón
Executive Producers: Kevin Dale, Brad Turner
Additional Editorial Support: Kibwe Cooper, Jo Erickson, Rachel Estabrook, Chuck Murphy, Taylar Dawn Stagner, Andrew Villegas
Thanks also to Kevin Beaty, Sarah Bures, Hart Van Denburg, Jodi Gersh, Shawn Lucero, Kim Nguyen, Clara Shelton, Arielle Wilson.

Parched is a production of the Climate Solutions team of CPR News and Colorado Public Radio’s Audio Innovations Studio — part of the NPR Network. 

Francisco Zamora, senior director of programs for the Sonoran Institute, photographs wildlife on the institute's Laguna Grande Restoration Area south of Mexicali, Mexico. Feb. 1, 2023.
Antonia Torres González holds a photo of her mother inside Museo Comunitario Cucapah, the museum about northern Mexico's indigenous tribes that she runs south of Mexicali, in Mexico's Baja California state. Feb. 2, 2023.
Green and fallow fields south of Mexicali, in Mexico's Baja California state, on Feb. 2, 2023. Some of these brown tracts were not irrigated to preserve water in the area.
A branch of the Colorado River flows through the Sonoran Institute's Laguna Grande Restoration Area, south of Mexicali in Mexico's Baja California state. The surrounding farmland and desert was once lush wetlands before the United States constructed dams north of the border. Feb. 1, 2023.
A border wall separating Calexico, California, and Mexicali, Baja California, Mexico. Feb. 3, 2023.
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