Colorado river

The once-mighty Colorado

Pete McBride/National Geographic/Alamy

Does a river have rights? A coalition of US environmental groups thinks so. They have filed a lawsuit in Denver that says the Colorado river’s “right to exist, flourish, regenerate, be restored, and naturally evolve” has been violated by its namesake state.

Controversially, they want to represent it as a “person” in court and list it as a plaintiff.

The Colorado provides water to 36 million people in seven arid US states and north-west Mexico. Thanks to irrigation, it greens thousands of square kilometres. But the river, which is severely overused for agriculture

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New Scientist – Earth