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Arizona US Senator calls on other Colorado River Basin states to do more to conserve water

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U.S. Senate
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U.S. Senate
Sen. Mark Kelly, (D) Arizona

Senator Mark Kelly of Arizona took to the airwaves this weekend to call on the rest of the Colorado River Basin states to step up and do their parts.

In an appearance on CNN’s State of the Union, Kelly told Jake Tapper, the state’s shouldering most of the burden of recent water cuts, and it’s not right.

“We do have the tools in place, what we don’t have is the partnership right now with other states," said the Senator

In 2023, Arizona will only get 21% of its normal allocation.

The Senator says, thus far, the state has made the greatest water concessions in the region, but it’s not enough.

“We need the other upper and lower basin states to step up and do their part, we’re not going to have, as you say, a catastrophic collapse of the system, we will be able to stabilize it," he said.

The cuts come in response to the 23-year drought that’s depleted the Colorado River. Local farmers were concerned about how deep those cuts might go, and they tell KAWC they're still worried about the future.

Senator Kelly told Tapper, eventually Arizona’s water issues will reach America’s dinner tables.

“If you’re eating green lettuce in the wintertime, it came from Yuma County. It’s so important that the other states step up and do something about it. It can’t just be on the state of Arizona.”

Recent water cuts from the Bureau of Reclamation were not any deeper than expected. However, they did come with a caution that something dramatic must be done to conserve Colorado River water in the next year, or the cuts will have to go much deeper.

This story is part of KAWC News's continuing coverage of the drought's impact on Yuma County. Look and listen for future reports here at KAWC.org, on the air at 88.9 FM, or on our mobile app.

Lisa Sturgis’ return to KAWC brings her journalistic career full circle. Uncle Bob Hardy gave Lisa her first exposures to reporting back in the 1980s. She went on to spend more than three decades in TV news before making the decision to come home to NPR.
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