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Starting with a hardhat trek through Hoover Dam on Wednesday, April 11, the Water Education Foundation’s (WEF) annual bus tour of the lower Colorado River embarked from Las Vegas for a three-day interpretive look at Reclamation facilities, riverine environments and municipal works located along the lower stretches of the river.

 

The annual lower Colorado River tour, which receives financial and technical support from Reclamation’s Lower Colorado Region and a host of other water-related agencies, offers federal, state and nongovernmental organization (NGO) participants with an in-depth look at the facilities, infrastructure and environments that exist within the lower Colorado River Basin.

Over the course of the three days, tour participants traveled down the lower Colorado River from Hoover Dam to Lake Havasu, through the Parker stretch of the river to Imperial Dam and the Imperial Valley and the Salton Sea, with the tour concluding at the Indian Canyons Conservation area operated by the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians near Palm Springs.

Each year, WEF organizes guided tours of many of the West’s major watersheds and river basins so aspiring resource managers can learn firsthand about water, its importance and myriad uses, with input and perspectives from experts on all sides of the issues.

In support of this year’s tour, Doug Hendrix, Public Affairs specialist with the Lower Colorado Regional Office, served as one of the primary subject matter experts aboard the chartered tour bus that included interpretive stops for the 37 tour participants at Hoover Dam, the Mojave Valley Conservation Area, Imperial Dam, the All-American Canal, the Imperial and Coachella Valleys and the Salton Sea.

Topics discussed included issues of water supply and demand, water quality, impacts of drought, environmental restoration, and groundwater and wastewater conservation. These issues were addressed by a wide range of speakers from Reclamation, local water districts, state government agencies, and NGOs, many of which also provided financial support and interpretive assistance to WEF for the annual event.

The Water Education Foundation is an impartial, nonprofit organization whose mission is to create a better understanding of water resources, and foster public understanding and resolution of water resource issues through facilitation, education and outreach. WEF’s history dates back to 1977 when California was in the second year of a major drought and water was at the forefront of the news. Today, the Sacramento-based non-profit remains a vital source of nonpartisan, in-depth information about water resource issues in the West.

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