CIÉNEGA DE SANTA CLARA, MEXICO — Juan Butrón-Méndez navigates a small metal motorboat through a maze of tall reeds here in the Mexican state of Sonora. It’s nearing sunset, and the sky is turning shades of light blue and purple.
The air smells of wet earth, an unfamiliar scent in the desert.
Every time thick, dark rain clouds move over the deserts that surround Las Vegas, there's an anticipatory buzz. Flora and fauna alike begin preparing for the rare event, lying in wait for the first few drops.
Todd Esque is usually waiting for them too from his office in Henderson, Nevada. He knows how much desert life depends on their arrival. So when they do come, he's smiling.
With short-term drought plans finished, water managers from across the Southwest recently gathered in Las Vegas to figure out what's next.
The Colorado River Water Users Association annual conference brings together nearly every municipal water agency, irrigation district, Native American tribe and environmental group that relies on the Colorado River.