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Title:The Vanishing River: USA's Mega Drought | Foreign Correspondent

The once mighty Colorado River is in trouble. Stretching from the snowy peaks of the Rocky Mountains all the way down to the Sea of Cortez in Mexico, its’ waters are a lifeline to tens of millions of people. Subscribe: ab.co/3yqPOZ5 But the pressures of the decades-long megadrought in America’s Southwest and a warming planet mean the water levels in the river and its dams are dropping. “I’m not going to say it’s too late, but we are in true crisis’, says renowned river scientist, Professor Jack Schmidt. The pressures on the river are largely man-made. The building of the Hoover Dam in the 1930s tamed the waters of this once wild river, harnessing its flows to make hydropower and feed a massive agricultural industry across the Southwest. But the water was over allocated from the start. Now as dam levels drop to their lowest ever, the survival of farms and industries are threatened. ‘I feel every day of my life that my son will not be able to share in this magnificence …and the beauty of this profession’, says Jace Miller, an Arizona farmer of five generations. He grows feed for livestock, but next year, his water allocation will be cut to zero. US correspondent Barbara Miller travels along this spectacular river to meet the communities whose livelihoods depend on it. Miller rafts down the Colorado rapids with the Native American tribe which depends on tourism for a dollar. She visits the thriving desert city of Las Vegas, which has become a US leader in urban water conservation. And there’s a silver lining. As waters in the dam reservoirs recede, natural wonders which were flooded for decades are emerging. ‘We’re seeing this flowing waterfall and this trickling creek. We’re seeing the vegetation start to come back’, says environmentalist Eric Balken. The vanishing river is a wake-up call for all those who depend on it. ‘We just pretended the Colorado River is just a check account’, says Professor Schmidt. ‘There are gonna be limits…and we’re gonna have to deal with them.’ Read more here: ab.co/3QFuULD About Foreign Correspondent: Foreign Correspondent is the prime-time international public affairs program on Australia's national broadcaster, ABC-TV. We produce half-hour duration in-depth reports for broadcast across the ABC's television channels and digital platforms. Since 1992, our teams have journeyed to more than 170 countries to report on war, natural calamity and social and political upheaval – through the eyes of the people at the heart of it all. Watch more ABC News content ad-free on iview: ab.co/2OB7Mk1 For more from ABC News, click here: ab.co/2kxYCZY Get breaking news and livestreams from our ABC News channel: youtube.com/user/NewsOnABC Like ABC News on Facebook: facebook.com/abcnews.au Follow ABC News on Instagram: instagram.com/abcnews_au Follow ABC News on Twitter: twitter.com/abcnews Contributions may be removed if they violate ABC’s Online Terms of Use www.abc.net.au/conditions.htm (Section 3). This is an official Australian Broadcasting Corporation YouTube channel


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