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Sunday, 8 June 2014

Colorado River

The Colorado River is the principal river of the Southwestern United States and northwest Mexico.

Rising in the western Rocky Mountains, the 1,450-mile  river drains a vast arid region of the Colorado Plateau and the Mojave and Sonoran Deserts as it heads towards the Gulf of California.

For 8,000 years, the Colorado Basin was only sparsely populated by Native Americans, though some of their ancient civilizations employed advanced irrigation techniques.

After becoming part of the US in the 1800s, the Colorado River country remained extremely remote until John Wesley Powell's 1869 river-running expedition, which began to open up the river for future development.

Since the completion of Hoover Dam in 1935, the Colorado has been tamed by an extensive system of dams and canals, providing for irrigation, cities, and hydropower. Today the Colorado supports 40 million people in seven U.S. and two Mexican states; with every drop of its water allocated.

It no longer reaches the sea except in years of heavy runoff.

Famed for its dramatic rapids and canyons, the Colorado is one of the most desirable whitewater rivers in the United States, and its Grand Canyon section – run by more than 22,000 people annually.

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