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Life Along The Colorado

2011 June 14

By Kasia Broussalian

A sense of adventure runs deep in my blood. It pushes me out of my comfort zone and onto the proverbial “open road.” I set off on that road for a few sweltering months in the summer and fall of 2009. With my last undergraduate class just behind me and a passion for community-based issues, I set out. My goal: to document populations living along, and dependent on, the Colorado River. The idea grew out of an interest I’d developed in water; an interest that began with an environmental policy class I had taken two years earlier. The differences among the people I encountered were staggering; from urban skate park teenagers and leggy accounting majors handing out drink coupons, to onion pickers and a Hoover Dam engineer.

I traveled along the Colorado River, from origin to delta, photographing the livelihoods of the communities thriving on this life-providing resource. My time spent along the shores of the river made me realize that while the Southwest is unlikely to run out of water anytime soon, it will run out of cheap water in the coming decades. How will this affect the communities dependent on its precarious flow? That is the underlying theme of my documentary.

Embedded in each of these communities is a unique sense of self. Though they vary drastically from one another, in another sense they are alike: all are completely reliant upon that one necessary resource, the Colorado River.

But, my main question still remains: once something as necessary and vital as water begins to change and become more expensive, what are these places going to look like? What will we lose in terms of culture and history as populations pick up and move on?

To view my documentary, please visit and click “Multimedia &Video”, “Life Along the Colorado.”

About the author: Kasia Broussalian is a Public Affairs intern for EPA Region 2. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree at New York University, and has been with the agency since 2010.

Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

5 Responses leave one →
  1. John F. permalink
    June 16, 2011

    Interesting blog post, thanks for the update

  2. Ashley permalink
    June 22, 2011

    I enjoyed your blog and documentary. I hadn’t realized the extent of the drought. With such tremendous inflow this year, it’s hard to believe that Lake Powell is only 64% full. By the way, the photos are terrific. I’d like to know why somebody apparently fell over a curb into a flower bed. That scene looked amusing. I wish you well with your education and career.

  3. Chris permalink
    June 30, 2011

    Great blog – it always makes me wonder why in the US with our understanding and capabilities we can’t address the basic balance of water resources better. Each year we have tremendous losses due to flooding in the mid west and central states along the Mississippi and Missouri rivers AND losses or increased water costs due to drought in the south west. Seems money well spent and many jobs created with guaranteed ROI by addressing these two issues together – infrastructure investment on new and improved aqueduct systems from areas of flooding to areas of drought…

    Keep up the good work getting stories like this out in the public view…

  4. Julie permalink
    July 24, 2011

    Time spent on the river is invaluable… and if you can spend that time actually pondering the present issues of water… then it is admirable. Thanks for educating me while I sit at my receptionist job and browse the internet.
    -Julie, manager of Sol Impressions Massage Studio

  5. Clive permalink
    September 17, 2011

    I watched another documentry about the US having a problem with water supply and availability. The whole issue is really quite shocking, our polar ice is melting but where is the water going? There seems to be less and less to go round. Water here in the UK gets more expensive every year, there seems to be less and less but it still rains a lot.

    Maybe water is becoming a global issue?

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