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Parched

Author: Colorado Public Radio

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The southwestern United States has been in a drought for more than 20 years. It's created a serious problem for the Colorado River, and tens of millions of people in the region. Parched is a podcast about people who rely on the river that shaped the West – and have ideas to save it. Hosted by Michael Elizabeth Sakas, a climate and environment reporter for CPR News.
12 Episodes
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Introducing 'Parched'

Introducing 'Parched'

2023-03-3002:56

The southwestern United States has been in a drought for more than 20 years. It's created a serious problem for the Colorado River, and tens of millions of people who use water from it. Parched is a podcast about people who rely on the river that shaped the West – and have ideas to save it. Michael Elizabeth Sakas, a water reporter for Colorado Public Radio, takes you on a journey to explore some of the best and boldest ideas to bolster our water supplies. Parched, the new podcast from CPR News, is coming April 18. Follow the show on your favorite podcast app so you don’t miss an episode.
The Last Straw

The Last Straw

2023-04-1833:43

The U.S. southwest is in a water crisis; it's a front line of climate change. This show takes you to places that rely on the Colorado River, to explore what we can do to ensure life in the region as it dries out. In this first episode, we get high up in the Rocky Mountains to see where our water comes from, and see ground zero for our water problems — the Hoover Dam — where we meet someone who predicted this crisis years before it happened. It's all to answer the question: Just how screwed are we? Part 1 of 10. Host: Michael Elizabeth Sakas Written by Rachel Estabrook Editors: Erin Jones, Joe Wertz Production and Mixing: Emily Williams Theme song by Kibwe Cooper. Additional music via Universal Production Music. Artwork: Maria Juliana Pinzón Executive Producers: Kevin Dale, Brad Turner Additional Production Support: Alison Borden, Kibwe Cooper, Jo Erickson, Luis Antonio Perez, Rebekah Romberg, Taylar Dawn Stagner, Andrew Villegas Thanks also to Sarah Bures, Hart Van Denburg, Jodi Gersh, Kim Nguyen, Clara Shelton, Arielle Wilson and Kevin J. Beaty. Parched is a production of the Climate Solutions team of CPR News and Colorado Public Radio’s Audio Innovations Studio — part of the NPR Network.
Ignored No More

Ignored No More

2023-04-2537:02

Indigenous tribes lived with the water's flow for thousands of years. Then, they were shut out of decision making about the Colorado River. In this episode, we go to the Jicarilla Apache Reservation to learn what that's meant for tribes, and how it's contributed to the river drying up. We also meet someone from a very different background in Boulder, Colorado. Together these men are urgently trying to do the same thing: Get everybody to the table to come up with solutions together--solutions to serve everyone who depends on the river. Part 2 of a 10-part series. For more CPR News coverage of the Colorado River, visited cpr.org/parched. Host: Michael Elizabeth Sakas with Taylar Dawn Stagner Written by Michael Elizabeth Sakas and Taylar Dawn Stagner Editors: Rachel Estabrook, Erin Jones Production and Mixing: Emily Williams Theme song by Kibwe Cooper. Additional music via Universal Production Music. Artwork: Maria Juliana Pinzón Executive Producers: Kevin Dale, Brad Turner Additional Editorial Support: Alison Borden, Kibwe Cooper, Jo Erickson, Luis Antonio Perez, Rebekah Romberg,  Andrew Villegas Thanks also to Jeremy Wade Shockley, Sarah Bures, Hart Van Denburg, Jodi Gersh, Kim Nguyen, Clara Shelton, Arielle Wilson. Parched is a production of the Climate Solutions team of CPR News and Colorado Public Radio’s Audio Innovations Studio — part of the NPR Network.
What if we could get more water, instead of just living with less? The idea of pulling water from another river, like the Mississippi, has tantalized people in the southwest for decades. We meet a farmer in Arizona who's become today's big champion for this big idea. Also, an engineer in Colorado and someone with an up-close view of the Mississippi explain what it would take to bring more water to the Colorado River states. Part 3 of a 10-part series. For more CPR News coverage of the Colorado River, visited cpr.org/parched. Host: Michael Elizabeth Sakas Written by Rachel Estabrook and Joe Wertz Editor: Erin Jones Production and Mixing: Emily Williams Theme song by Kibwe Cooper. Additional music via Universal Production Music. Artwork: Maria Juliana Pinzón Executive Producers: Kevin Dale, Brad Turner Additional Editorial Support: Alison Borden, Kibwe Cooper, Jo Erickson, Luis Antonio Perez, Rebekah Romberg,  Taylar Dawn Stagner, Andrew Villegas Thanks also to Sarah Bures, Hart Van Denburg, Jodi Gersh, Kim Nguyen, Clara Shelton, Arielle Wilson. Parched is a production of the Climate Solutions team of CPR News and Colorado Public Radio’s Audio Innovations Studio — part of the NPR Network.
On the beach in Southern California, it's easy to look at the Pacific Ocean and wonder what would happen if we could drink it. It's already happening in some places, and others from Arizona to the California coast want to expand desalination. If big cities there use more of the ocean and less of the Colorado River, would that leave more water for the southwest? Part 4 of a 10-part series. For more CPR News coverage of the Colorado River, visited cpr.org/parched. Host: Michael Elizabeth Sakas Written by Michael Elizabeth Sakas and Joe Wertz Editors: Rachel Estabrook, Erin Jones Production and Mixing: Rebekah Romberg Additional Production: Emily Williams Theme song by Kibwe Cooper. Additional music via Universal Production Music. Artwork: Maria Juliana Pinzón Executive Producers: Kevin Dale, Brad Turner Additional Editorial Support: Alison Borden, Kibwe Cooper, Jo Erickson, Luis Antonio Perez, Taylar Dawn Stagner, Andrew Villegas, Emily Williams Thanks also to Sarah Bures, Hart Van Denburg, Jodi Gersh, Kim Nguyen, Clara Shelton, Arielle Wilson. Parched is a production of the Climate Solutions team of CPR News and Colorado Public Radio’s Audio Innovations Studio — part of the NPR Network.
Viva Las Vegas

Viva Las Vegas

2023-05-1636:56

Most people in the West live in cities, and cities can do a lot to change how they use water. We head deep into the glittery, neon heart of Las Vegas. There, under the Bellagio Fountain, we learn that this city of excess is a world leader in water conservation. What is Vegas doing, and how might people who live in other Colorado River cities follow its lead? Part 5 of a 10-part series. For more CPR News coverage of the Colorado River, visited cpr.org/parched. Host: Michael Elizabeth Sakas Written by Michael Elizabeth Sakas Editors: Erin Jones, Joe Wertz Production and Mixing: Emily Williams Additional Production and Editing: Rachel Estabrook Theme song by Kibwe Cooper. Additional music via Universal Production Music. Artwork: Maria Juliana Pinzón Executive Producers: Kevin Dale, Brad Turner Additional Editorial Support: Alison Borden, Kibwe Cooper, Jo Erickson, Luis Antonio Perez, Andrew Villegas Thanks also to Sarah Bures, Hart Van Denburg, Jodi Gersh, Kim Nguyen, Clara Shelton, Arielle Wilson. Parched is a production of the Climate Solutions team of CPR News and Colorado Public Radio’s Audio Innovations Studio — part of the NPR Network.
Across the country, headlines this week touted a "deal" to save the Colorado River. In this bonus episode, we'll break it down: What you need to know, and what it means for the solutions we're exploring on Parched. Come back next week for our regular storytelling about people and places along the river. Host: Michael Elizabeth Sakas with Ryan Warner Written by Rachel Estabrook Editors: Erin Jones and Joe Wertz Production and mixing: Rebekah Romberg Theme song by Kibwe Cooper Artwork: Maria Juliana Pinzón Executive Producers: Kevin Dale, Brad Turner Special thanks to Ryan Warner. Parched is a production of the Climate Solutions team of CPR News and Colorado Public Radio’s Audio Innovations Studio — part of the NPR Network.
Flush With Opportunity

Flush With Opportunity

2023-05-3035:29

Americans flush toilets with water that's good enough to drink. We could cut how much water cities need if we reused that water, or flushed without sapping our fresh mountain supplies. From at-home solutions to citywide scale, wastewater reuse and recycling are gaining momentum, and could be on the verge of a breakthrough.  Part 6 of a 10-part series. For more CPR News coverage of the Colorado River, visited cpr.org/parched. Host: Michael Elizabeth Sakas Written by Rachel Estabrook Editors: Erin Jones, Joe Wertz Production and Mixing: Rebekah Romberg Theme song by Kibwe Cooper. Additional music via Universal Production Music. Artwork: Maria Juliana Pinzón Executive Producers: Kevin Dale, Brad Turner Additional Editorial Support: Alison Borden, Kibwe Cooper, Jo Erickson, Luis Antonio Perez, Taylar Dawn Stagner, Andrew Villegas Thanks also to Sarah Bures, Hart Van Denburg, Jodi Gersh, Kim Nguyen, Clara Shelton, Arielle Wilson. Parched is a production of the Climate Solutions team of CPR News and Colorado Public Radio’s Audio Innovations Studio — part of the NPR Network.
What we pay for water doesn't reflect how scarce it is with climate change. Could cities get people to use less water by charging more for it? Decades ago, Tucson did this, and it worked. But the political consequences may have scared off other cities. Now, in an increasingly dire situation along the Colorado River, what if a bunch of cities priced water differently, to change our behavior? Part 7 of a 10-part series. For more CPR News coverage of the Colorado River, visited cpr.org/parched. Host: Michael Elizabeth Sakas Written by Rachel Estabrook Editors: Erin Jones, Joe Wertz Production and Mixing: Rebekah Romberg Theme song by Kibwe Cooper. Additional music via Universal Production Music. Artwork: Maria Juliana Pinzón Executive Producers: Kevin Dale, Brad Turner Additional Editorial Support: Alison Borden, Kibwe Cooper, Jo Erickson, Luis Antonio Perez, Taylar Dawn Stagner, Andrew Villegas Thanks also to Sarah Bures, Hart Van Denburg, Jodi Gersh, Kim Nguyen, Clara Shelton, Arielle Wilson. Parched is a production of the Climate Solutions team of CPR News and Colorado Public Radio’s Audio Innovations Studio — part of the NPR Network.
Water For Pay

Water For Pay

2023-06-2039:45

If we turned off every tap in every city in the southwest, we still wouldn't solve the Colorado River crisis. That's because 80 percent of the water goes to agriculture — to the lettuce and melons in your produce section, the half-and-half you put in your coffee every morning. Those farmers have some of the preeminent rights to the river. So what if the government paid them to keep their water in the river instead? Part 8 of a 10-part series. For more CPR News coverage of the Colorado River, visit cpr.org/parched. Host: Michael Elizabeth Sakas Written by Michael Elizabeth Sakas Editors: Erin Jones, Joe Wertz Production and Mixing: Emily Williams Theme song by Kibwe Cooper. Additional music via Universal Production Music. Artwork: Maria Juliana Pinzón Executive Producers: Kevin Dale, Brad Turner Additional Editorial Support: Alison Borden, Kibwe Cooper, Jo Erickson, Rachel Estabrook, Luis Antonio Perez, Taylar Dawn Stagner, Andrew Villegas Thanks also to Sarah Bures, Hart Van Denburg, Jodi Gersh, Kim Nguyen, Clara Shelton, Arielle Wilson. Parched is a production of the Climate Solutions team of CPR News and Colorado Public Radio’s Audio Innovations Studio — part of the NPR Network.
Crops like alfalfa that feed cows are the biggest user of the Colorado River, to satisfy our cravings for nachos and burgers. Cutting back on farms' water use is the biggest way we can live in a drier West. One Indigenous farm manager is trying to do it — to grow food with much less water. His story reveals how to get other farms to be more efficient, too, in part by changing what and how they grow. Part 9 of a 10-part series. For more CPR News coverage of the Colorado River, visit cpr.org/parched. Host: Michael Elizabeth Sakas Written by Michael Elizabeth Sakas Editors: Erin Jones, Joe Wertz Production and Mixing: Emily Williams Theme song by Kibwe Cooper. Additional music via Universal Production Music. Artwork: Maria Juliana Pinzón Executive Producers: Kevin Dale, Brad Turner Additional Editorial Support: Kibwe Cooper, Jo Erickson, Rachel Estabrook, Chuck Murphy, Taylar Dawn Stagner, Andrew Villegas Thanks also to Sarah Bures, Hart Van Denburg, Jodi Gersh, Kim Nguyen, Clara Shelton, Arielle Wilson. Parched is a production of the Climate Solutions team of CPR News and Colorado Public Radio’s Audio Innovations Studio — part of the NPR Network.
A River For The Future

A River For The Future

2023-07-0543:58

Across the U.S.-Mexico border, the Colorado River once flowed freely into the ocean. When the freshwater and saltwater met, it created an explosion of life in the desert. But most of that lushness dried up when people used up the river. We meet people who have worked for decades to restore parts of the delta's lost wetlands. They created a historic agreement between the two countries that designates some river water for the environment. That means that sometimes, this dry delta flows with water again, and occasionally, the river meets the ocean. The final installment in our 10-part series. For more CPR News coverage of the Colorado River, visit cpr.org/parched. Host: Michael Elizabeth Sakas Written by Michael Elizabeth Sakas Editors: Erin Jones, Joe Wertz Production and Mixing: Emily Williams Additional Production: Erin Jones and Rachel Estabrook In-Country Interpreter: Jesús Galaz Tape Translator: Carlos Aguilar Voiceovers: Jean Inaba and Jessie Jacobs Theme song by Kibwe Cooper. Additional music via Universal Production Music. Artwork: Maria Juliana Pinzón Executive Producers: Kevin Dale, Brad Turner Additional Editorial Support: Kibwe Cooper, Jo Erickson, Rachel Estabrook, Chuck Murphy, Taylar Dawn Stagner, Andrew Villegas, Rebekah Romberg Thanks also to Kevin Beaty, Sarah Bures, Hart Van Denburg, Jodi Gersh, Shawn Lucero, Kim Nguyen, Clara Shelton, Arielle Wilson. Parched is a production of the Climate Solutions team of CPR News and Colorado Public Radio’s Audio Innovations Studio — part of the NPR Network.
Comments (5)

No Name

Thank you for this podcast. it was very enlightening.

Jul 11th
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John D. Noyes

the show is awesome, the storytelling is great!

Jun 1st
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John D. Noyes

someone moved to the desert then called the desert vegetation ugly? doesn't make much sense to me.

May 31st
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No Name

Rio Verde is not indicative of what is going on with water in Arizona. Rio Verde screwd themselves. They wanted to put off regulations and didn't secure water as other communities did. They don't deserve any water from other cities. Let them buy their own.

Apr 19th
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