For over a year I have had the amazing opportunity to go through the process of producing a documentary film with a great friend and co-producer. I have been with it from its conception of the idea, to the birth of it, and now to a growing product which we can be proud of. It is something I could have never pictured five years ago. And now, the trailer has just been released and I am full of excitement and nervousness.
It is a film about water issues in the Southwest United States that follows a group of friends from the headwaters of the Animas River located in the San Juan Mountains in Colorado over 400 miles to the Glen Canyon Dam, which makes up Reservoir Powell. We follow the river as it transforms from snow into wet ground, to a small trickle, and then into one of the largest man made lakes in the West. The river goes through old mines which still release high levels of heavy metals into the stream high in the mountains. As The Animas reaches Durango, Co it enters high population density and high agricultural use, both of these have negative effects on the river system. In Farmington, NM it meets with the San Juan River and keeps the name. The Juan, at this point is on the Colorado Plateau and in a very desert like region. In the desert is where the river lives the rest of its life. After a couple hundred miles, the river dies.
It turns into a nasty, muddy, stagnant body of water. Reservoir Powell eats the San Juan and the Colorado river and turns the moving water into one of the most beautiful sites. This beauty comes with the cost of massive environmental damage. Just a few of the issues caused by the reservoir are, loss of native fish habitat, the drowning of what Ed Abbey called one of the most beautiful canyons he’s ever seen, and the degradation of water quality.
So what? Why does this all matter?
Wherever you are sitting right now, you need water to survive. How much water do you have where you live? Do you live in the East where there is an abundance of water? Or do you live in the American Southwest where we have a limited amount of water and a growing population? Regardless, water quality and quantity are going to become or already are a topic in your local government and regional papers. Anyways, think about how you use water today, tomorrow, and the next day.
~ Stephen Witherspoon
For more information, please visit http://www.thecurrentfilm.org/.