The Rio Grande is disappearing. Demand for water is growing as snow packs shrink, rain patterns shift and average temperatures rise faster than they ever have in the past 11,000 years.Read more
Despite the dams holding back as much water as they can, the riverbed of the Rio Grande is still wet. Some of the water comes from springs, but most of it appears to be water flowing off irrigated farm fields. Most of this water is coming from wells, and we could hear and see the wells pulling water all across the valley.
It is not wet enough to float a canoe. It is wet enough to make walking difficult, and to justify taking the packraft. Some of the pools stretch for half a mile and were either too deep to walk or covered in a scum that made doing so a bit revolting.
Tomorrow we will meet with farmers, but today the goal was simply to make miles. The day began with a quick paddle across Caballo Lake and then a long walk along the riverbed.
By noon, after having covered about nine miles in five hours, it was clear I needed to ditch the raft and walk the levee road that parallels the river to keep on schedule. Anyway, it provided a much better view of the pecan orchards and the fields of corn, alfalfa and chilies the Rio Grande supports.
It is harvest time for the chilies and the smell of the peppers comes in waves off the fields. It helps clear your head. I made another 10 miles before Erich came and picked me up at 5:30.
Erich is doing much better after a day of rest and some medication for the tick bite. Thank you to everyone who expressed concern.
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As they travel, Colin and Erich are taking water samples for the following periodic water quality tests. In partnership with The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment’s Texas Stream Team Program at Texas State University, the results will be added to a public database it helps maintain for research and monitoring water quality.
While making his way to the Gulf of Mexico, Colin will be periodically activating a device that uses satellite technology to share his current location. Use this map to see where he traveled on this day.
|Check-In||Time of Check-In (CST)||Latitude||Longitude|
To report on and understand the haphazard irrigation system the Rio Grande has become and the changes it is going through, Colin decided the best approach would be to travel the length of the Rio Grande by foot and small boat.
He knew it would give him a unique perspective on a river that few understand. It did require many long days of moving slowly and camping on muddy riverbanks, but Colin likes that sort of thing.
The benefit was it provided access to people who wanted to share their stories and experiences with the Rio Grande. Via Facebook and chance encounters, Colin made instant friends who opened their homes. They provided help from loaning their trucks to their cell phone contact lists to help tell the story of the Rio Grande.
The trip would not have been possible without their help, along with the dedicated assistance of David Lozano, Jason Jones and Daniel Dibona, who drove thousands of miles to get people and boats in place.