Summary of "The Colorado River: Instability and Basin Management"

Summary of

The Colorado River: Instability and Basin Management

Summary written by T.A. O'Lonergan, Conflict Research Consortium

Citation: The Colorado River: Instability and Basin Management, William L. Graf, (Washington, DC: The Association of American Geographers, 1985), 86pp

The Colorado River: Instability and Basin Management is required reading for ARSC 5020/7020 as taught by Professors Michael Glantz and Jim Wescoat. This work will interest those who are interested in the multiple instabilities present in the Colorado River Basin and the challenges these pose for management. The first chapter is a history of the Basin and an examination of: the resource base, and the institutional structure of human, cultural and bureaucratic systems which have impacted and managed the Basin. The next six chapters each address a specific instability evident in the Colorado River Basin. The first of these examines: the climatic causes of, and effects of; channel flooding, sheet flooding and so-called ?artificial flooding' on the hydrologic instability of the Basin. Chapter three addresses ecological instability in riparian vegetation. The author examines the nature of riparian vegetation and the effects of defoliation. The presence of exotic species and the relationship between water management and riparian vegetation are considered.

Chapter four discusses vertical channel instability which produces arroyos. Considered are: mechanisms and causes, and both temporal and spatial structures. Horizontal channel instability and the resultant channel migration is the topic of chapter five. After a discussion of the mechanisms involved, the author examines: floodplains and their management, and the problem of migrating channels for urban areas. The next chapter addresses both the upstream and downstream impacts of high dams on the Colorado system. Chemical instability is the topic of the last save one chapter. This chapter examines: salinity, the level of heavy metals, and radioactive materials in the Colorado River. The final chapter is devoted to concern for the future of the Basin. It presents: significant trends, management perspectives and the role of geographers in the management of the Basin.

The Colorado River: Instability and Basin Management is a systematic examination of the instabilities which affect the Colorado River Basin and approaches to management of the Basin, given these instabilities.