Bill of the Week: Senator promotes sustainable supply

Bill of the Week highlights a recently introduced piece of legislation that might not make front-page news but otherwise catches the eye.

Title: A resolution recognizing that the governor of the state of Colorado has proclaimed 2012 as the “Year of Water”

Number: S.Res. 465

Sponsor: Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.)

Co-sponsor(s): Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.)

Date introduced: May 16

Summary: This resolution aims to establish water as a precious resource in Colorado. It identifies a clean and sustainable water supply as an essential element to the health and economy of Colorado and its neighboring states. 

According to a statement from Udall’s office, the resolution also honors Colorado water organizations focused on conservation and public education. 

“In this year, one of the driest in recent memory, it is especially appropriate that we reflect not only on the importance of water throughout the history of Colorado and the West, but also on the organizations that have been the stewards of this critical resource,” Udall said in the statement. “It is because of these organizations that Coloradans can enjoy the full benefits of our rivers and future Coloradans will have water within reach — in their fields, forests and mountains.”

Bill’s origin: In January Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) declared 2012 the “Year of Water,” to commemorate the 75th anniversary of legislation that created four water organizations, which regulate Colorado’s water resources. 

Along with this proclamation, the state is co-sponsoring an ad campaign called “Colorado Water 2012,” which, according to its website, aims to “engage Coloradans in a statewide celebration of water: past, present and future.” 

“We want Coloradans to celebrate our unique heritage as a headwaters state and understand the diverse uses and values of this precious resource,” the website says. 

Companion legislation: Though not companion legislation, Bennet has introduced a water-related resolution the past two years declaring March 11 “World Plumbing Day.” The resolution calls clean water and efficient plumbing essential to safeguarding the public health of U.S. citizens and people around the world. 

What others say: Jennifer Gimbel, the director of the Colorado Water Conservation Board, said she was thrilled that Udall introduced the resolution. She added that the resolution adds even greater importance to an idea that Hickenlooper put forth earlier this year. 

“Our governor has made water one of our top five priorities,” Gimbel said. “We are concentrating on [the question]: How can we meet the needs of the future while also protecting the needs of the present?” 

Gimbel said there is “no silver bullet” that can solve Colorado’s water problems. New conservation methods and the completion of current federal projects are some of the many ways the state can tackle its water shortages, she said. 

Extras: More than 98 percent of Colorado is experiencing drought conditions, according to a May report from Colorado State University. The last time the state experienced similar drought conditions was in 2002; during that year Colorado experienced some of the most devastating wildfires in state history. However, state climatologist Nolan Doesken told Colorado State University, “There is plenty of time yet for at least some parts of Colorado to improve.”

To suggest a Bill of the Week, email Kris Kitto at kkitto@thehill.com.



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