Developments on the Colorado River: A Crash-Course

In Spring 2021, I road-tripped the Southwest to better understand the Colorado River: the dams, the diversions, and the different populations it serves.

My goal was to grasp this mind-boggling system well enough to explain every major development along the river to a fifth grader. This article shares what I learned.

Two excellent books informed my journey—Cadillac Desert (1993) and Where the Water Goes (2017)—with plenty of help from Wikipedia. If I’ve gotten something wrong, or you think I’ve missed an important piece…