Chair Grijalva Statement on Interior’s Announcement of New Actions to Protect Colorado River System in Light of Historic Climate Change-Induced Drought Conditions

Washington, D.C. - House Natural Resources Committee Chair Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) today issued the following statement on the U.S. Department of the Interior’s (DOI) announced response to severe drought conditions in the Colorado River System. These actions include unprecedented reductions in water allocations to Arizona, Nevada, and New Mexico beginning in January 2023, given the first-ever Tier 2 shortage conditions for Lake Mead. 

“Interior is making the right move by putting critical measures in place to protect the Colorado River,” said Chair Grijalva. “But we know that if we don’t do more to address climate change, the end of this problem will be nowhere in sight. The Inflation Reduction Act is a good start, but it is only a start. We need a process in place that gives the most impacted communities—like tribes across the Colorado River Basin—a bigger seat at the table, and provides more transparency and accountability.”

Chair Grijalva’s leadership in Congress has addressed the Colorado River water supply-demand imbalance. His leadership has led to negotiation and passage of:

  • The Colorado River Drought Contingency Plan to help reduce water use to more sustainable levels through enactment of H.R. 2030 (116th Congress)
  • The development and enactment of the Interior Department’s new large-scale water recycling program (H.R. 4099) to create new water supplies for millions of people in the Colorado River Basin through sustainable large-scale water recycling projects. This new program was enacted in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law with $450 million in appropriations. 
  • Secured $300 million in funding for the Colorado River Drought Contingency Plan authorized under Chair Grijalva’s H.R. 2030.
  • Secured billions in funding for tribal water rights settlements to advance tribal water rights in the Colorado River Basin via the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the Inflation Reduction Act, and other enacted laws providing mandatory appropriations for tribal water rights. 
  • Helped secure $4 billion specifically targeted for Colorado River drought response measures in the Inflation Reduction Act. 

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