The geographic area drained by a river and its tributaries is called a "basin." The rivers and streams shown on this map all flow into the Colorado River. The canals and aqueduct in California receive water from the Colorado. This map shows only Reclamation's dams in the basin.
1. Trace the course of the Colorado River. Where does it start? Where does it end? There are two places where the river forms the boundary between two states. Which states are they?
2. Trace the boundaries of the Colorado River Basin. Which states are within the Basin? Which are in the Upper Basin and which are in the Lower Basin?
3. Most of the water in the Colorado comes from melting snow in the Upper Colorado Basin. Most of the water is used in the Lower Colorado Basin. If you had to decide how much of the river's water each state could have, what factors might you consider? If the states did not agree with what you recommended, who do you think should have the right to make a final decision?
4. The river crosses the border into Mexico. How would you decide how much water Mexico could claim? Who could make that decision?
5. How many dams can you find on the Colorado River? Hoover Dam was the first of those on the map. Why do you think there are so many now?
Click here for a larger image of Map 1.