Award Date

Spring 1995

Degree Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Environmental Science

Advisor 1

Dennis L. Soden, Ph.D. Environmental Studies, UNLV

Number of Pages



Water is essential to life in the arid environment of the western United States. For centuries, humans have used the Colorado River to fulfill their needs and until the past 100 years, the use of the river was sustainable. Over the last 100 years, the Colorado River has been dammed and diverted to "reclaim" the arid west for man's use. In 1946, a Department of the Interior report stated that "Tomorrow the Colorado will be utilized to the very last drop. Its water will convert thousands of additional acres of sagebrush desert to flourishing farms and beautiful homes for servicemen, industrial workers, and native farmers who seek to build permanently in the West" (U.S. Department of Interior 1946). "Water was a commodity that needed to be removed from the river channel and 'put to use'. Water left wild and flowing in the channel was 'wasted'" (Bates 1993: 4). Indeed, the West exists as it does today because it has become "one big, complex plumbing system" (Fradkin 1981: 9). In 1922, the Colorado River Compact was drafted to allocate the waters of the river between the two halves of the Colorado River Basin to encourage development. The development that has occurred in the basin states due to the availability of water has been unprecedented. At this time it would appear that the Colorado River Compact should be revised to account for changes in the region as well as the inadequacies of the original document.


Colorado River (Colo.-Mexico); Water diversion; Water supply; West (U.S.); Colorado River Watershed (Colo.-Mexico); Water management; Water political aspects


Environmental Health and Protection | Environmental Policy | Environmental Sciences | Natural Resource Economics | Public Administration | Public Policy | Sustainability | Water Resource Management

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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