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Robert Redford Says Problems With Colorado River Are Solveable

Actor Robert Redford talks to KPBS about his new documentary, “Watershed,” on issues facing the Colorado River system.

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Watershed Documentary

Screening - Saturday July 28th 8:15

Panel Discussion Follows film moderated by KPBS Peggy Pico

Executive Producer, Robert Redford

Producer, James Redford

Actor Robert Redford has teamed up with his son Jamie to film a new documentary, “Watershed,” about issues facing the Colorado River system.

Robert Redford spoke to KPBS about the dangers the river faces.

“The main thing for people to know, particularly people who consider the Colorado River an American icon, which a lot of people do, it’s sort of classified as a symbol of America, the beauty and good of America, but it no longer reaches its destination,” he said.

Redford said the Colorado River no longer reaches the Sea of Cortez, but he thinks not a lot of people know that.

“That’s a sign of something bigger, which is change,” he said. “I think that change is inevitable despite people who are afraid of change. It is inevitable, and it’s going to happen, and it’s happening now very big and very fast.”

He said the Colorado River is one of many things that is “disappearing and shrinking that would be a shock to us to learn about because it’s happening so fast.”

Watershed movie trailer

But, he said, there are solutions.

“We can restore the Colorado River to its destination,” he said.

Some of the solutions include reducing the demand on water by power plants “that maybe shouldn’t even be there,” Redford said. Also, reducing water waste and evaluating the value of those things the river supplies with water.

“How much water do you need for golf courses, how many golf courses do you need,” he said. “And I love golf. But we’re at a point now where we can’t have everything we used to have, otherwise we’re going to have nothing.”

Redford said the movie, which he also narrates, makes the point that we need to change the way we think about water.

“Don’t look at water they way we’ve been looking at it for the past century or more, which is it’s there forever, it’s something that’s always going to be there for us, so we can use it to abundance, we can use it any which way we want because there’s plenty of it and it will always be there," he said. "Well it won’t.”


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