Energy & Environment

House lawmakers join senators in rallying around Colorado River

FILE – Water flows along the All-American Canal Saturday, Aug. 13, 2022, near Winterhaven, Calif. The canal conveys water from the Colorado River into the Imperial Valley. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull, File)

A bipartisan coalition of House lawmakers are forming a “Congressional Colorado River Caucus,” with the goal of collaborating on ways to best address worsening drought conditions across the seven-state basin. 

“Together, and working with our colleagues in the Senate, we will collaborate with each other and state and local leaders, putting the interests of our communities above all else,” Rep. Joe Neguse (D-Colo.) said in a statement on Wednesday.

Neguse, who serves as ranking member of the House Subcommittee on Federal Lands, announced the creation of the caucus, which will include members from six of the seven Colorado River states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah.

The lawmakers intend to discuss the critical issues affecting the Colorado River, which provides water for 40 million people across the West.   

Members of the caucus will work “together towards our shared goal to mitigate the impacts felt by record-breaking levels of drought,” according to Neguse. 

“We must protect the reliability and consistency of this critical water source,” he said.

The Congressional Colorado River Caucus follows a similar bipartisan effort launched in the Senate by Sen. John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.) last month. 

The Senate caucus — whose members come from all seven basin states, including Wyoming — formed with the goal of helping sparring factions agree on consumption cutbacks. 

Negotiations about reducing Colorado River water usage have been taking place for months, following a call from the federal Bureau of Reclamation for the states to come to an agreement. 

The result of these discussion thus far has been two opposing proposals — a joint deal from six out of the seven states, followed by a competing offer from the outlier, California.

In the Congressional Colorado River Caucus announcement on Wednesday, Neguse’s office noted that “a consensus has yet to be reached, but negotiations are ongoing.”

Leading the caucus alongside Neguse is Rep. Juan Ciscomani (R-Ariz.), while members include Reps. Greg Stanton (D-Ariz.), Grace Napolitano (D-Calif.), Jay Obernolte (R-Calif.), Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.), Dina Titus (D-Nev.), Mark Amodei (R-NV), Melanie Stansbury (D-N.M.), Teresa Leger Fernandez (D-N.M.), Chris Stewart (R-Utah) and John Curtis (R-Utah).

“Water is our most precious resource, and we must address the uncertainty caused by the severe drought that is impacting 40 million residents of Arizona and the Southwest,” Ciscomani said in a statement. 

“I look forward to collaborating with my colleagues on solutions that bring together the Upper and Lower Basins and secure a strong water future for us all,” he added. 

Tags Colorado River Colorado River Caucus House Democrats Joe Neguse Joe Neguse John Hickenlooper John Hickenlooper Juan Ciscomani

Copyright 2023 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

See all Hill.TV See all Video

Most Popular

Load more


See all Video