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The Southwest's most important river is drying up

The Colorado River irrigates farms, powers electric grids and provides drinking water to 40 million people. But as its supply dwindles, a crisis looms.


Published August 21, 2021

For farmers in the deserts of central Arizona, success and failure is defined by who has water and who does not. At the moment, Dan Thelander is still among the haves.

Inside a municipal building in Pinal County, Thelander rolls a map out across the board room table.

On the patchwork of brown desert and green farmland in front of us, Thelander points out the parcels of land where he and his brother, son and nephew grow cotton, alfalfa and several other crops.

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