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The Colorado River is the lifeblood of the Southwest. Without this massive river, the bustle of life and flourishing economy across Southern California would not be possible. But now, the river is in crisis due to years of overuse and human-driven climate change.

Morning anchor Angela Chen explores the impact on the Coachella Valley and our dependence on the water. In the “Troubled Waters: Colorado River Crisis” series, our team travels to Colorado and tracks the path of the river back to California, talking to water experts, environmentalists, farmers and more along the way to understand the impact of the Colorado River on the west and why we need to do something about the chronic overuse before it’s too late.

Watch the four-part series, with reports airing Wednesdays in November.

Nov. 1 – In part 1, “Into the Wild West,” dive into the history of the drying Colorado River, scrutinizing the past so we can understand how the nation is currently mired in its present controversy.

Nov. 8 – In part 2, “Water Rights,” find out why California is king when it comes to water rights on the Colorado River and the often fractious fights between states. See why the Coachella Valley is dependent on the river. Hear from Native Americans tribes who depend on the river.

Nov. 15 – In part 3, “On The Table,” look into the biggest possible impact of mandatory cutbacks on water use: our food.

Nov. 29 – In part 4, “River Rescue,” learn what’s already being done to use less water and possible solutions. Find out why states and the groups that rely on the water have a monumental task ahead of them when it comes to fixing the Colorado River crisis.

The Colorado River is an unfathomable force, ancient and powerful in its path along the American Southwest. Over the years, people have shared stories about mysteries they have experienced on the water. Here, Sara Porterfield, an environmental historian and Western Policy Advisor at Trout Unlimited, shares a hair-raising experience she had once as she rafted the Colorado.

This series was supported by The Water Desk, an independent journalism initiative based at the University of Colorado Boulder’s Center for Environmental Journalism

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