Report — From the April 2014 issue

Razing Arizona

Will drought destroy the Southwest?

Download Pdf
Read Online

It was a river of drought, low enough that we could walk alongside the rafts, our feet sinking into the silky bottom. We had put in near Moab, Utah, at the mouth of Meander Canyon, where the Colorado River turns sluggish after racing out of the Rocky Mountains. There would be no worry about rapids for the next forty miles, not until Cataract Canyon, a stretch of white water that has a penchant for flipping boats and killing boatmen. Occasionally our rafts caught on sandbars and spun like lily pads, and we had to rally around them in the water and push. Where the flow deepened to the waist, a big-toothed writer named Bill deBuys, of New Mexico, who was once a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for his book River of Traps, got out and swam. All but one of our party — the trip leader, John Weisheit, a slope-shouldered, slow-talking Moab river runner who had given up alcohol — popped open cold beers and jumped into the water, escaping the August heat as our boats drifted.

This article is only available to magazine subscribers. If you are a subscriber, please sign in. If you aren't, please subscribe below and get access to the entire Harper's archive for only $39.99/year. Or purchase this issue on your iOS or Android devices for $6.99.

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Download Pdf
Share
is a contributing editor of Harper’s Magazine. His article “Stop Payment!” appeared in the January 2012 issue.

More from Christopher Ketcham:

Get access to 164 years of
Harper’s for only $39.99

United States Canada

  • Seamous O’Reason

    What an important and well informed article. Watching the inevitable downfall of a river system and a city system in slow motion is frightening. Thank you for spelling out the obvious so wonderfully.

THE CURRENT ISSUE

January 2015

Come With Us If You Want to Live

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Body Politic

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Problem of Pain Management

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Game On

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Love Crimes

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content