Colorado River Delta Needs More Water Stakeholders From U.S. and Mexico Draft Principles to Guide Restoration

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Michael Cohen 1-510-251-1600

September 12, 2001, MEXICALI, BAJA CALIFORNIA, MEXICO – In order to restore the damaged Colorado River Delta, the area needs more water. That was the central message of a historic research conference hosted by the International Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC), the United States Department of the Interior, and the Mexican Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT).

The symposium, which for the first time brought together researchers, policy makers and stakeholders from the United States and Mexico, also generated a set of principles (attached) that will guide the Delta’s restoration. Participants presented research on a wide range of legal and scientific issues that affect the Colorado.

River Delta and surrounding areas, but the heart of the matter was water.

One Percent of River Flow Could Save Delta

“This is an important conference because water users in the U.S. and Mexico have finally acknowledged that, despite their best intentions, too much Colorado River water is being used along the way,” said Ed Glenn, Professor of Biology at the University of Arizona. The good news according to professor Glenn: “As little as 1 percent of the river’s flow might be enough to preserve key habitats.”

“The symposium and treaty amendment give cause for hope,” concurred David Hogan, Urban Wildlands and Rivers Program Coordinator for the Center for Biological Diversity. “But not one drop of water is legally dedicated to nature, so we look forward to working with others to strike a balance between water for agriculture, cities and the delta environment.”

“This conference is a strong indicator of how committed the two governments are to seriously addressing the imperative of Delta restoration,” said William Snape, Vice President for Legal Affairs at Defenders of Wildlife. But “The delta needs water now,” added Lisa Force, Program Director for Living Rivers. “If we’re not careful, the delta could be studied literally to death. The Mexican and U.S. governments and Colorado River water users need to commit to secured flows for the delta, as prescribed by the science already completed, while further studies proceed.”

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