Nat Geo Show To Feature Water Expert’s Work In Colorado River Basin

By Amanda Solliday
Published: Friday, December 11, 2015 - 5:05am
Audio icon Download mp3 (1.74 MB)
(Photo by Francisco Zamora - Sonoran Institute, with aerial support from LightHawk)
The Colorado River meets the Gulf of California.

As the result of a binational agreement between the United States and Mexico, the Colorado River received a pulse flow of water in spring 2014 that once again connected the river to the Gulf of California.

Conservationist Sandra Postel’s continued work in the Colorado River delta will be profiled this weekend on the new National Geographic show “Breakthrough.”

Postel is the founder of the Global Water Policy Project. She first visited the Colorado River delta in 1996.

“And at that point, we really sort of had the impression the Colorado delta was dead,” Postel said.

The overstretched river had long stopped short and left a dry channel. But scientists found if water could be returned to the area, the habitat could come back.  

Many conservation groups are working to provide water to the once-again living delta. Following the 2014 pulse flow, the Colorado River Delta Water Trust leases water from farmers in the river basin to supply part of what’s called base flow — the continuous, low amount of water required to support the delta’s plants and animals.

Postel created a campaign, “Change the Course,” which engages the public and gathers corporate donations for these restoration efforts.

“At this point we have 140,000 people in our pledge community, which means we’ve returned 1,000 gallons of water for each of those pledges,” Postel said.

The Colorado River project is a pilot for “Change the Course,” and Postel plans to apply the fundraising model to other watersheds.

Postel’s work in the Colorado River basin will appear Dec. 13 at 7 p.m. on the National Geographic Channel.

Sandra Postel On National Geographic Live!