Paper Water (2018-ongoing) moves between real and imagined ways of representing water of the Colorado River, the most important body of water in the American West. The title borrows from the legal distinction between wet water (actual water in the river or overall system) and paper water (the amount of water someone is legally entitled to use).

Endlessly moving seen and unseen through dams, canals, tunnels, and reservoirs, the water serves close to 40 million people.

The photographs were taken across the Colorado River basin, and beyond, speaking to the vast, complicated physical system that moves water within and often, outside of the basin.

Stressed by climate change and prolonged drought, the Colorado River landscape reflects the Anthropocene and a changing world.

The Grand Ditch, Colorado, 2019, Archival pigment print, 14 x 21 inches | The Grand Ditch was built in the 19th Century and continues to divert, collect, and move water from the western side of the continental divide to the eastern side of the divide.  

Tunnel diorama, Colorado, 2019, Archival pigment print, 14 x 21 inches | Numerous tunnels throughout Colorado divert water from the western side (and less populated) of the continental divide to the eastern side (and more populated) of the divide.  

Turquoise Reservoir, Colorado, 2019, Archival pigment print, 14 x 21 inches | One of several reservoirs of The Fryingpan-Arkansas Project, which moves water from the western side of the continental divide to the eastern side of the divide.  

Imperial Irrigation District facility map, California, 2019, Archival pigment print, 14 x 21 inches | A partial map of the Imperial Irrigation District, a water irrigation district in Southern California with extensive facilities.   

Underground tunnel, Central Utah Project, Utah, 2019, Archival pigment print, 14 x 21 inches | The Central Utah Project is largely a trans-basin diversion, moving water out of the Colorado River Basin and ultimately into the Salt Lake City region.   

Twin Lakes Reservoir, Colorado, 2019, Archival pigment print, 14 x 21 inches | A component of The Fryingpan-Arkansas Project, which moves water from the western side of the continental divide to the eastern side of the divide.   

Coachella Canal, California, 2018, Archival pigment print, 14 x 21 inches | The Coachella Canal is one of several, high volume engineered waterways that move water outside of the Colorado River basin across Southern California.   

Colorado River diorama, Nevada, 2019, Archival pigment print, 14 x 21 inches | The diorama displays the entirety of the Colorado River system, including the numerous components, facilities, and geographies outside of the river basin.   

Echo Bay, Nevada, 2019, Archival pigment print, 14 x 21 inches | Until 2013, Echo Bay, located at the northern edge of Lake Mead, was home to a marina and extensive tourist facilities.   

Lake Mead Marina, Nevada, 2018, Archival pigment print, 14 x 21 inches | As the shoreline continues to recede in Lake Mead, the marina has been forced moved their operations several times.   

Southern Nevada Water Authority facility, Nevada, 2018, Archival pigment print, 14 x 21 inches | Referred to as “the third straw,” this project is a component of The Southern Nevada Water Authority, which provides water throughout the Las Vegas region.   

Central Arizona Project facility, Arizona, 2018, Archival pigment print, 14 x 21 inches | The Central Arizona Project moves water from the main stem of the Colorado River over 336 miles, providing water for agricultural and urban use throughout Arizona.  

Central Arizona Project, Arizona, 2019, Archival pigment print, 14 x 21 inches | The Central Arizona Project provides approximate 40 percent of Phoenix’s water supply.   

Imperial Irrigation District offices, California, 2018, Archival pigment print, 14 x 21 inches | The Imperial Irrigation District (located outside of the Colorado River basin) holds some of the largest and oldest water rights of the Colorado River.   

Drainage canal and Colorado River, Arizona, 2018, Archival pigment print, 14 x 21 inches | One of the numerous canals comprised of Yuma Irrigation District, left, and the main stem of the Colorado River, right, separating California and Arizona.