Climate Change And Population Growth Are Straining The Rio Grande

A new series from The Texas Observer and Quartz looks at the many water issues facing people on both sides of the border.

By Alexandra HartAugust 21, 2018 2:23 pm

Rio Grande – it’s Spanish for “big river.” Nearly six million people both north and south of the border rely on it as their primary source of water. But what happens if that big river shrinks to a trickle? It’s not an altogether unlikely scenario.

A new collaboration between the Texas Observer and Quartz called Shallow Waters takes look at the precarious state of the Rio Grande, and the people who rely on it.

Over the years, the river has become more and more endangered, slowing to a trickle and even sometimes going completely dry in some spots. Naveena Sadasivam, staff writer at the Texas Observer who covers energy and the environment, says that human intervention has fundamentally altered the river.

“The story goes back I think … to the construction of several major dams,” she says. “Those help us store water in times of drought, but it also means that it significantly alters the flow of the river. It’s not natural flowing river anymore, it’s one thats managed by humans.”

Listen to the full interview in the audio player above.