California’s little-known New River has been called one of North
America’s most polluted. A closer look reveals the New River is
full of ironic twists: its pollution has long defied cleanup, yet
even in its degraded condition, the river is important to the
border economies of Mexicali and the Imperial Valley and a
lifeline that helps sustain the fragile Salton Sea ecosystem.
Now, after decades of inertia on its pollution problems, the New
River has emerged as an important test of binational cooperation
on border water issues. These issues were profiled in the 2004
PBS documentary Two Sides of a River.