Running Dry: A Journey From Source to Sea Down the Colorado River

  • Tuesday, December 07, 2010
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In the spring of 2008, Jonathan Waterman, a National Geographic Society grantee, Sonoran Institute Fellow, and an award-winning author, began a journey by foot and boat down the iconic mother of all western American rivers, the Colorado. Standing at over 10,000 feet in Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park, he emptied his mother’s ashes into her headwaters and began a journey by foot and boat down the river, all the way to its last trickle in the Sonoran desert and down the parched Mexican delta to the Pacific Ocean. It would be the first time anyone had ever traveled from these headwaters 1,450-miles to the Gulf of California and it would be a compelling, complicated, and hugely informative journey.

Waterman chronicles his experience and the river in his new narrative book, Running Dry: A Journey From Source to Sea Down the Colorado River, a photo book, The Colorado River: Flowing through Conflict, and a National Geographic Colorado River Basin Wall Map.  The Colorado, sometimes called the American Nile, supplies water for 30 million people and more than 3 million farm acres, across seven western states and northern Mexico. But the demands made on the river have put its very future at stake. The river has not reached the sea for many years. It is the lifeblood of the American West, and as its waters dip to an all-time low, the economy, the wildlife, the people, and the very landscape of this vast region are in jeopardy.

For more information, film clips and author’s events, please see: and

Jonathan Waterman has worked as a wilderness guide, magazine editor, park ranger, director of a small press, guard dog agitator, and freelance writer. He has authored ten books and four television documentaries. The recognition for his work runs the gambit from magazine awards, to a literary fellowship from the National Endowment for the arts, to an Emmy. He has also created a wall map of the Colorado River Basin, and along with Pete McBride, a touring photography exhibit based on their forthcoming book, The Colorado: Flowing through Conflict (Westcliffe Press, Nov, 2010).


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