Mexican authorities say they will open the gates of the last dam on the Colorado River on March 23, beginning a process of releasing 130 million cubic meters (4.6 billion cubic feet) of water to help local farming communities and revive the waterway's delta.
The so-called "pulse-flow event" will "bring tremendous environmental and socio-economic benefits, including the replenishment of aquifers, creation of new habitat for wildlife and the possible historic opportunity of reconnecting the river with the (Gulf of California)," the Environment Secretariat, or Semarnat, said.
The gates of the Morelos Dam in Los Algodones, a small town in the northwestern Mexican state of Baja California, will be opened under a 2012 agreement signed by Mexico and the United States for the "integral management of the Colorado River basin."
The replenishment of aquifers will "mainly benefit farmers in the San Luis and Mexicali valleys," Semarnat said.
Additionally, if the water flows to the Gulf of California, the delta will be enriched with nutrients that can help recover fishing grounds along the border of the Mexican states of Baja California and Sonora.
The U.S.-Mexico accord also provides for environmental monitoring to assess the impact of the pulse flow event on the region's hydrology and flora and fauna.
The Colorado River, which begins in the central Rocky Mountains in the United States, flows for 2,500 kilometers (1,550 miles) through the states of Colorado, Utah, Arizona, Nevada before entering northwest Mexico. EFE