This was the last year that the majestic Colorado River reached the ocean. Today, the 1,450-mile-long body of water peters out about 90 miles from the Gulf of California.
The river's dry demise can be attibuted to urban growth, suburban sprawl, its complex history of dams and diversions, and agriculture, which consumes between 80 and 90 percent of the water in most western states.
In 2008, two Colorado-based journalists, adventurer Jon Waterman and photographer Pete McBride, documented the Colorado’s near-demise during a seven-month-long descent.
In his book, Running Dry: A Journey From Source to Sea Down the Colorado River, Waterman concludes that the river has been, simply, “engineered to death.”
He writes: "...more than 100 dams and 1,000 miles of canals divert its water to most every farm, industry and city within a 250-mile radius of the river. Each year, seven western states and northern Mexico take 16.5 million acre-feet (enough water to supply 33 million American households) of river water."
The photos in this gallery are the product of the duo’s journey and can be found in McBride’s book, The Colorado River: Flowing Through Conflict.