Colorado River water ethics focus of documentary at MNA

Museum of Northern Arizona to host screening of Robert Redford produced and narrated film Friday at 6:30 p.m.

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. - The Museum of Northern Arizona (MNA) is pleased to host a screening of the new film, Watershed: Exploring A New Water Ethic for the New West T 6:30 p.m. on Friday. A social hour begins at 5:30 p.m.

The 2012 film's executive producer and narrator is Robert Redford and it is produced by the Redford Center and Kontent Films. This screening is part of Colorado River Days, a series of events to celebrate the Colorado River and raise awareness of its issues.

It has been said that nothing defines a region more than a body of water. This is particularly true in the American West. The Colorado River and the tributaries that make up its basin made this dry land not only livable, but irresistible to settlement. Even still, famed early explorer John Wesley Powell warned that combining arid land with civilization would eventually lead to a crisis.

The relentless march toward progress led to the 1922 Colorado River Compact and other agreements between seven American and two Mexican states to divvy up the water. These agreements transformed one of the world's wildest rivers, capable of creating grand canyons and inland seas, into the most dammed and diverted river basin in the world: a machine supporting the needs of 30 million people. Agriculture, industry, urban growth, mining, and energy production claw for their share, so much so that the mighty Colorado River of today, rarely, if ever, reaches its delta in the Gulf of California.

With populations in the region expected to reach 50 million by 2050, temperatures rising, and precipitation patterns becoming more erratic, demand will outpace supply unless we embrace a new water ethic, one that questions not only how we use water, but how it affects the world around us.

Watershed shows that across the Colorado River basin, from a fly-fishing guide in Rocky Mountain National Park to a wetland restoration worker in the river's delta, from a rancher in Colorado to a bike messenger in Los Angeles, a mayor in mining country, or a Navajo County Commissioner, people in the region are not only asking questions, but acting on the issue daily.

The film will be followed by a panel discussion moderated by MNA Director Robert Breunig. Panelists include Grand Canyon Trust's Native America Program Director Tony Skrelunas, Colorado Plateau Water Advisory Council Coordinator Ron Doba, Grand Canyon Monitoring and Research Center Chief Jack Schmidt, and National Parks Conservation Association Arizona Program Manager Kevin Dahl.

Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. for a social hour, so that guests can speak to the panelists and each other. The 55 minute film will begin at 6:30 p.m., followed by the panel discussion. A cash bar and hors d'oeuvres will be available.

The film screening is open to the public and tickets are $5, which includes one drink. The event is produced by MNA, with special thanks to the Grand Canyon Trust, National Parks Conservation Association, and the Sierra Club-Plateau Chapter. This event is part of the Colorado River Days, running July 24-24. The Colorado River Days celebrate the Colorado River and raise awareness of Colorado River issues, especially pertaining to northern Arizona and the Grand Canyon. Through dialogue and education, ideas to keep water in the river, protect healthy flows, and prevent harmful water developments are explored.

Colorado River Days events also include a songwriting contest today, and the Grand Canyon Authors Symposium at MNA on Saturday, and more movies and lectures at MNA on Sunday, showing Glen Canyon Institute's Resurrection and Tom Martin presents Then and Now: Comparing Pre- and Post-Glen Canyon Dam Photos of the Colorado River in Grand Canyon. Further information can be found on the event website at http://coloradoriverdaysflagstaff.tumblr.com/.

The Museum of Northern Arizona is supported by Arizona Commission on the Arts, BBB Revenues from the city of Flagstaff, and Flagstaff Cultural Partners. The museum sits at the base of the San Francisco Peaks, three miles north of historic downtown Flagstaff on Highway 180, scenic route to the Grand Canyon. It is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. More information about the museum is available at (928) 774-5213 or musnaz.org.

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