Stories from the River: Rosalia Salazar, Nuestro Río Youth Leader


“I grew up in Las Vegas where many people don’t realize that our water comes from the Colorado River and don’t appreciate that this water source is very limited. I doubt many people even know that Lake Mead is man-made. When I was younger, I thought watering schedules were normal – not a sign that we just don’t have enough water for all of our needs out here in the desert.

A few years ago, I went on a rafting trip down the Colorado River with Nuestro Río which was the first time I had ever been rafting and camping. I was floating along the river on the raft and thinking that the water was deep enough at its current levels. But when we got farther down the river, I could see the water line which was up so much higher than where the water was in the river. I remember sitting on the raft and thinking, ‘If that water line was where the water was today, we would be at the bottom of the river.’ It was really eye-opening. At that moment, I realized how much water has gone to waste.

I believe the Latino community should take a leadership role in finding a solution to the challenges facing the river. We can take steps to make sure that our policymakers know that we value this resource and want it to be here for our children and grandchildren. We can educate people about how they can be more efficient in how they use water – take shorter showers, turn off the water when they brush their teeth, follow watering schedules.

It’s very important to act now because between 30 and 50 years from now Nevada is not going to have enough water, and we’re going to be in a terrible state. We need to do something before it gets to that point."

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Rosalia Salazar, Nuestro Río Youth Leader