Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News

Spanning seven states, the Colorado River is one of the most critical supplies of water in the western United States and Mexico. Here are 10 facts you may not know about the Colorado River from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, National Geographic Society.

Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News

The Colorado River is 1,450 miles long.

>> River rafting down Cataract Canyon in Moab on the Colorado River Monday June 13, 2005.

Seven states
Winston Armani, Deseret News

It spans parts of seven states: Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming.

>> Colorado River below the Hoover Dam, Tuesday, April 10, 2012.

Reaching people
Ravell Call, Deseret News

The river and its tributaries provide drinking water to 40 million people.

>> Toroweap, Grand Canyon, Arizona. October 10, 2007.

Agriculture's impact
Ravell Call, Deseret News

Agriculture consumes 78 percent of the Colorado River's water, irrigating 5.5 million acres of land that provide 15 percent of the nation's crops.

>> Hans and Miranda Bak of Holland take in the view of the Colorado River at Horseshoe Bend near Page, Arizona and the southern Utah border, September 21, 2007.

Generating electricity
Tom Smart, Deseret News

Hydropower facilities along the river provide more than 4,200 megawatts of electrical generating capacity.

>> Brian Martinez guides his boat through the whitewater on the Colorado River in Cataract Canyon in Southern Utah, July 28, 2008.

Water numbers
Associated Press

The river drains 243,000 square miles, with its headwaters at 14,000-foot high peaks in Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado.

>> In a Wednesday, March 5, 2008 file photo, water flows from the number one and two jet tubes at the Glen Canyon Dam in Page, Ariz., to mimic natural flooding.

20 dams
Ravell Call, Deseret News

More than 20 dams have been built along the Colorado River and its tributaries.

>> Hiker on the trail to the Doll House with the Colorado River in the background.

River fish
Ravell Call, Deseret News

Of the 40 species of fish found in the Colorado River, 30 are endemic and four are endangered.

>> Horseshoe Bend in the Colorado River.

Desert lifeblood
Tom Smart, Deseret News

The river provides the "lifeblood" for at least 22 Native American Indian tribes.

>> A Great Blue Heron walks along the shore of the Colorado River in Cataract Canyon in Southern Utah, July 28, 2008.

Getty Images

It supports seven national wildlife refuges, four national recreation areas and 11 national parks.

>> A state flag of Arizona, an American flag and a state flag of Nevada are hung over the side of the Mike O'Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge part of the Hoover Dam Bypass Project during a dedication ceremony October 14, 2010 in the Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Nevada.