Life Along The Colorado

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.

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