Officials were given a bird’s eye tour of the Colorado River Basin yesterday.
EcoFlight and the Colorado River District hosted a flyover event with Colorado’s Senator Michael Bennet (Chairman of the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee’s Subcommittee on Conservation, Climate, Forestry, and Natural Resources), Deputy Secretary of the Interior Tommy Beaudreau, and Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Camille Calimlim Touton.
Officials viewed the severe drought conditions in the Colorado River Basin. The flight took the group over the Uncompahgre River, the Blue Mesa Reservoir, the headwaters of the Colorado River, the Paonia Reservoir and Dam, and the Grand Valley Project.
Bennet also hosted Beaudreau and Touton for a listening session with Colorado water users, where they discussed the challenges they have faced due to climate change-fueled drought and how they would like to see the $4 billion in funding for drought from the Inflation Reduction Act implemented, which Bennet secured in the law in August. Attending the session at Colorado Mesa University were representatives from the Ute Mountain Ute and Southern Ute Tribes, water districts, irrigators, and other water leaders.
“I’m grateful Deputy Secretary Beaudreau and Commissioner Touton joined me on the Western Slope to see the incredibly challenging conditions faced by our water users and to learn about ways they are working together to face a future with less water,” said Bennet. “I look forward to our continued work towards a long-term solution and sustainable future for the Colorado River Basin.”
Touton stated that “Reclamation remains fully committed to work in a consensus manner to implement meaningful water management and conservation actions across the Upper and Lower Basins, with Tribal Nations, and Mexico.”
Last week, Sen. Bennet led a group of Colorado and New Mexico lawmakers in urging the Bureau of Reclamation to prioritize funding for long-term, permanent solutions to the drought crisis in the Colorado River Basin when it allocates the $4 billion in new funding from the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) for Western drought. He continues to work with his colleagues to build on the progress of the IRA and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to address extreme drought, combat climate change, and protect Western water.
Image from Senator Bennet’s press release.