American Rivers—a Washington D.C. based organization focused on the health of rivers and communities across the nation—has updated its annual list of the top 10 endangered waterways in the United States. Topping this list for the third time is the Colorado River, which provides water for drinking, farmland irrigation, and numerous ecosystems. According to Gary Wockner of the Denver-based advocacy group Save the Colorado, “The Colorado River is the lifeblood of the American Southwest, not just for people but also for fish and wildlife and the river ecosystem.”
Along with the Colorado River, the top five of the American Rivers’ list includes the Flint River (Georgia), the San Saba River (Texas), Little Plover River (Wisconsin), and Catawba River (North and South Carolina). Of these five most endangered waterways, the top four are all threatened not by pollution or sedimentation, but by outdated water management!
Withdrawing too much upstream threatens rivers, communities, and wildlife downstream. This issue impacts everyone as we rely on rivers to provide safe drinking water, protect ecosystems, and support agriculture. Through efforts like WaterSMART (Sustain and Manage America’s Resources for Tomorrow) and Title XVI, we can encourage Congress to fund programs that promote water recycling and reuse, which ultimately helps protect the vitality of our waterways. American Rivers also supports grassroots efforts to build awareness of this issue by providing re-tweetables and blog banners on their site.
Meeting the increased water usage demands for our growing population while protecting natural resources is a delicate balance and a challenge, but will be a necessity that we will continue to strive toward in all our water projects now and into the future.