Colorado River drought conditions spur calls for better water infrastructure

Horseshoe Bend Colorado River Basin/Public Domain

By Ariana Figueroa | Arizona Mirror

Experts in government, agriculture, water management and the environment stressed during a U.S. Senate hearing on Wednesday the danger that droughts fueled by climate change pose in the West, including the Colorado River Basin.

 During a hearing before an Energy and Natural Resources Committee panel, witnesses said long-term solutions and an investment in water infrastructure are needed to combat the effects of climate change.

“Water has always been a limited resource in the West,” Sen. Mark Kelly, an Arizona Democrat who chaired the hearing of the Water and Power Subcommittee, said. “We have this old saying in Arizona that ‘whiskey is for drinking, water is for fighting.’”

He said that the issue is a priority for him because Arizona is on the front lines of a major drought, which can increase the risk of wildfires in the West. 

Tanya Trujillo, the assistant secretary for water and science at the Department of the Interior, said that “water supply is below average.” 

She said the federal government should continue to make investments in water infrastructure, and new technology such as water recycling and desalination systems that remove salt from salt water.

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