A new Omnimax show, "Grand Canyon Adventure: River at Risk", which will be screened at the Hong Kong Space Museum from tomorrow (May 1) until October 31, brings to local audiences another documentary featuring this iconic American landscape. This comes after the blockbuster film, "Grand Canyon", was screened here in 1986.
"Grand Canyon Adventure: River at Risk" is a riveting cinematic celebration of water and a captivating story of the worldwide water crisis. By surveying the Great Canyon, where the river runs dry, the film seeks important answers about water conservation and asks each of us to make a difference in protecting the Earth's precious resources. The film will also take audiences to join a team of explorers on an exhilarating Colorado River whitewater adventure through the rapids of the Grand Canyon's falls.
The Grand Canyon is one of the most amazing natural wonders in the world. Located in the northwestern corner of Arizona in the US, this gigantic crack in the earth is about 446 km long, 29 km wide in some places, and averages more than 1.5 km deep. Among the towering buttes, flat-topped mesas, deep gorges, blazing deserts and cold rivers, the canyon provides habitats for a wide variety of animal life.
The Grand Canyon was carved slowly and steadily over six million years by the powerful flowing waters of the Colorado River and by smaller streams – known as tributaries – that flow into it. The Colorado River performed this extraordinary work of nature by washing sand, mud, and gravel – debris known as sediment – along its course. The Colorado River runs for more than 2,200 km and 75% of its water comes from the snow pack in the Rocky Mountains. It's the life-line for seven Western states and Mexico, and quenches the thirst of 30 million people. However, when the Glen Canyon Dam was completed in 1963, it changed the flow of the river and its ecology.
Though providing clean and cheap electricity, the dam has reduced the amount of water flowing into the Colorado River. Farming downstream was abandoned because the dam has stopped the river from carrying tonnes of sediment that it once did. The dam upstream had drastically altered the river and its banks. Many different kinds of animals in this river are gone today. At Lake Powell, one of the river's man-made lakes, every year billions of gallons evaporate in the desert sun. It is now only half-full. Throughout the American Southwest, rainfall has been declining for about a century. Most scientists expect this so-called "dry spell" to get even worse in the coming hundred years. This long drought will be a huge challenge for the next generation.
Sixteen kilometres down-river, Lake Mead is drying up, just like Lake Powell. Formed by the Hoover Dam, Lake Mead is the main water source for Las Vegas. But nearly 80% of the Colorado's water is used for growing crops. Lake Mead allows the desert to bloom, but there's not enough water to sustain the growth of the city. People's indulgence comes back to haunt them hundreds of kilometres down-river, near Mexico. Compared to 50 years ago, only 8% of the river's water even reaches Mexico today. And the Colorado will never flow to the sea again.
Fresh water is being depleted rapidly worldwide. According to the United Nations, it is estimated that 1.1 billion of people suffered from a shortage of fresh drinking water in 2002, and that the figure is expected to grow to 3.4 billion in 2050. We can make a difference for this parched planet. Farmers could grow more food with less water by using efficient irrigation. We could also learn to save water at home, if we use a low-flow shower head, efficient toilet, or smart controls on sprinklers. Water conservation takes our will and full commitment.
The 44-minute Omnimax Show, "Grand Canyon Adventure: River at Risk", will be screened at 3.50pm and 7.20pm daily at the museum's Stanley Ho Space Theatre. Additional shows will be scheduled at 12.20am on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays. The museum is closed on Tuesdays (except public holidays). Tickets are available at the Space Museum Box Office and at all URBTIX outlets for $24 (front stalls) and $32 (stalls). Full-time students, senior citizens and people with disabilities will receive a half-price concession.
The Space Museum is located at 10 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon. For further information, call 2721 0226 or visit the website at hk.space.museum.
Ends/Friday, April 30, 2010