Audubon’s Western Water blog is a trove of insightful think pieces and updates on many issues affecting people and birds in the West. And to be honest, the water situation—from the Colorado River to the Rio Grande—gets more bleak with each passing day and year. And sometimes, so do the blogs.
So when Audubon’s Colorado River Program Director Jennifer Pitt got a call from HBO's Last Week Tonight asking to factcheck some of the information for an upcoming episode on the Colorado River, the whole team was eager to watch the show—if for nothing else, to bring some levity to the ongoing crisis.
Mixed with jokes on Las Vegas showing leadership on water conservation and the desire of developers to build surfing lagoons in the middle of the desert, was a crisp analysis of the dire situation on the Colorado River, how we got here, and what’s next.
The episode covers many of the topics, and even some of the legislation that Audubon has been heavily involved in:
- Historic drought
- The inequities of the Colorado River Compact (which John Oliver basically called a system of “dibs” that left out Tribes and the environment)
- The desiccated Colorado River Delta on the Mexico side of the border
- Groundwater overuse in California’s Central Valley
- The need for rural groundwater management in Arizona
- The much-needed update to Arizona’s archaic “Use it or lose it” water law
- The Lake Powell Pipeline
- The concept of aridification (vs. the temporary nature of drought)
- The urgency of the problem
We’re glad to have national TV attention and more messengers for the Colorado River—we’ll take as many as we can get. We especially appreciate John Oliver’s cheerfulness despite the circumstances. Check out the clip here: