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Drought in the Colorado Basin

U.S. Department of the Interior

This series of visualizations is part of a rich multi-agency effort to showcase the usefulness of open data (i.e., data provided in a discoverable, sharable, and machine-readable format) by exploring the 16-year drought as of 2016 and its effects on the Colorado River Basin.

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Notes From Our Reviewers The CLEAN collection is hand-picked and rigorously reviewed for scientific accuracy and classroom effectiveness. Read what our review team had to say about this resource below or learn more about how CLEAN reviews teaching materials
Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy | Technical Details

Teaching Tips

  • Adding a set of assessment questions/prompts for each sections could turn this resource into an inquiry-based experience for students.

About the Content

  • Visualizations document (via text, maps, graphs, satellite images) the role that the Colorado River plays in water supply and hydropower to the Southwestern US and Northwestern Mexico. Current drought (since 2000) has and will continue to have a major impact in these areas.
  • Comments from expert scientist:
    Scientific strengths:
    - Describes the Colorado River in many different ways: lifeline, geographic location, control structures, storage capacity and water supply
    - Explains characteristics/statistics of the current drought, more development leads to higher demand, impacts on Lake Mead and Lake Powell, and what is being done to mitigate the drought

About the Pedagogy

  • Visualization is a self-directed, click-through primer on the importance of the Colorado River to the extensive area that it touches.
  • Through text divided into 11 subheadings, and a series of 13 interactive illustrations, graphs, and figures, the story of the drought in the Colorado River basin is told in an engaging and logically organized way.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Outstanding graphics and interactive graphs.
  • The "Explore" interactives can be inserted into other presentations since they have unique urls.
Entered the Collection: June 2018 Last Reviewed: April 2017

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