Study shows hunters and anglers need to engage in water management decisions
Today, the Subcommittee on Water and Power of the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources will hold a hearing to consider the Bureau of Reclamation’s Colorado River Basin Water Supply and Demand Study. The study is a landmark analysis of water supply and demand in the Colorado River basin over the next 50 years and will be a critical tool to water managers at all levels planning for the future of the southwestern United States.
“This study is unique for many reasons but especially for the importance it places on healthy flows in the river,” said TRCP Center for Water Resources Director Jimmy Hague. “Sportsmen commend the study for analyzing water for fish and wildlife on par with other uses of Colorado River water, and urge Reclamation and the seven basin states to engage hunters and anglers in the next phase of the study.”
The study, which bills itself as a “call to action” for the Colorado River basin, projects water demand outpacing supply in the Colorado River basin by 3.2 million acre-feet by 2060. One acre-foot of water is roughly the amount of water used in a year by a typical family of four. The study also analyzes options to fill the projected shortfall, including municipal and agricultural water conservation and reuse, improving management of the Colorado River system, and augmenting current water supplies.
“We thank Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO), for initiating these hearings, and we urge senators to seize the opportunity to move past the status quo for Colorado River water management,” said Steve Moyer, Vice President for Government Affairs for Trout Unlimited, a TRCP partner organization. “Trout Unlimited is committed to proactive, pragmatic solutions. We’ve put these solutions to work throughout the West, by partnering with agricultural producers and private landowners on win-win efficiency upgrades and habitat restoration projects.”
“The study is just the first step in a long planning process that will occur at all levels for management of the river,” continued Hague. “Sportsmen must make their voices heard in this process to ensure we preserve the proud hunting and fishing heritage that depends on the river and that also is an important economic driver in the southwestern United States.”
A list of witnesses, include Taylor Hawes, Colorado River Program Director for the Nature Conservancy, another TRCP partner organization, is available on the committee’s website. Witnesses at the hearing will review the results of the study and describe next steps. The Bureau of Reclamation has created three working groups to guide the study’s ongoing work looking at municipal conservation and reuse, agricultural improvements and how to ensure healthy river flows.
Logo courtesy Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership