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The rio grande, or the Rio Bravo del Norte, its formal Mexican name, rises in the San Juan Mountains in southeastern Colorado and then runs south for 1,885 miles through the state of New Mexico, passing Taos, Albuquerque, and Las Cruces before following the full length of the border between Texas and Mexico. The river empties into the Gulf of Mexico near Brownsville, Texas and Matamoros, Mexico.

Demands on the river's water from cities and agriculture all along its course continue to increase. In addition, pollution problems have been encountered due to the close proximity of hazardous waste dumps, the spilling of industrial wastes, and irrigation water returned to the main stream. Compounding the problem is a series of drought years through the 1990s and into ...

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