Juan Riosmoreno has spent the past 30 years working in water accounting on one of the most contested waterways in the world. Riosmoreno is an engineer and the acting Chief of Operations at Morelos Dam in Algodones, Mexico at the US-Mexico Border. His job entails monitoring the water’s salinity and flow when it reaches Mexico so that the Dam can release the water appropriately for use in Mexico. Morelos Dam was built in the 1950s to receive water from reservoirs higher up the Colorado River, such as Lake Mead. Riosmoreno and the Morelos Dam have witnessed many important events in the history of the Colorado’s flow into Mexico. One such event was 2014’s pulse flow. The pulse flow was part of Minute 319, a small piece of a binational agreement that allowed a release of water into Mexico from the United States for the revitalization of the environment, as well as a smaller base flow delivered later in the year to sustain the channel’s flow over a longer time. The Morelos Dam was the release point for much of the water two years ago and Riosmoreno hopes for another release in the future, especially after Minute 319 expires next year. More water releases would help communities and conservation interests in the border regions of Mexico and in the Sonoran Desert where Riosmoreno works. Though bound by directives for opening the dam gates, Riosmoreno says that if he could, he would open the gates for the farmers, the cities and the environment.
By Maggie Baker