Hollywood's Water War: Robert Redford and Will Ferrell Are Fighting—Each Other—to Save the Colorado River

A new tongue-in-cheek PSA aims to raise awareness about a once mighty river.
Mar 13, 2014·
Kristina Bravo is Assistant Editor at TakePart.

Watching two Hollywood titans clash can often be entertaining. But rarely does it get as hilarious as in a new PSA featuring an epic battle between actors Robert Redford and Will Ferrell.

The spot aims to increase awareness about the plight of the Colorado River, which, because of agricultural and urban overtapping, has not reached Mexico’s Gulf of California since 1998.

The two-minute piece opens with Redford inviting viewers to check out the Raise the River campaign to learn how they can reconnect a “beloved delta” to the sea. But Ferrell has a different solution in mind. “Let’s reconnect these things the old-fashioned way. The American way,” the Anchorman star says. He goes on to describe a plan to move “a small portion of the ocean back toward the wet part of the river,” then urges viewers to send money to Move the Ocean, a fictional nonprofit. Hilarity ensues in the form of an increasingly testy back-and-forth.

Not that we wouldn’t line up around the block to witness a Sundance Kid–versus–Ron Burgundy duel, but in reality the two celebs are fully aligned on this pressing issue. Ten major dams—from the Hoover Dam, completed in 1936, to the Glen Canyon Dam, erected in 1966—impede the waterway’s natural flow. Adding to its woes are the numerous towns and industries that siphon water from it and its many tributaries as they meander to the sea.

This predicament and a few possible solutions drive the Redford Center–produced documentary Watershed, which is set to premiere on World Water Day—March 22—on Pivot. Additionally, Raise the River and Change the Course, the social action campaign for the 2012 world water crisis documentary Last Call at the Oasis, are working together to return water to the Colorado. Donations to Raise the River will help acquire permanent water rights to the river and help rebuild 2,300 acres of surrounding habitats.

This article is written in association with Change the Course, a social action campaign from TakePart's parent company, Participant Media.