WASHINGTON — Today, Congresswoman Susie Lee (D-NV) and Congressman Chris Stewart (R-UT) were named as Vice-Chairs of the bipartisan Colorado River Caucus by Co-Chairs Congressman Joe Neguse (D-CO) and Congressman Juan Ciscomani (R-AZ).
The Caucus comprises a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers representing states along the Colorado River Basin, with members from Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah. The lawmakers will discuss the critical issues along the river and support the work of the Colorado River Basin states on how best to address the worsening levels of drought in the Colorado River Basin.
“In southern Nevada, we are leading when it comes to water conservation and climate change resiliency, but this crisis is too urgent and wide-reaching to act alone,” said Congresswoman Susie Lee. “As the West continues to face the worst drought in twelve centuries, the future of the Colorado River System depends more than ever on the seven Basin states working together on joint solutions. I’m proud to serve as Vice-Chair of the new, bipartisan Colorado River Caucus alongside Congressman Stewart to demonstrate that we can cross state and party lines to collectively combat our water crisis.”
“I’m proud to join this critical, bipartisan caucus that’s so dedicated to the Colorado River Basin,” said Congressman Chris Stewart. “Water is the lifeblood of the American West, and shortages are a problem that impact all of us. It’s no surprise that it will take all of us to create the healthy, sustainable communities that we all want for the West. The Colorado River Basin states are well underway with this collaborative process, and Congress needs to continue supporting those crucial negotiations.”
“I am excited that Representatives Lee and Stewart will bring their much-needed perspectives to the Colorado River Caucus through their roles as Vice-Chairs,” said Congressman Joe Neguse. “Together, we will work with the Caucus towards our shared goal of alleviating the water crisis facing the Colorado River Basin in both the Upper and Lower Basin states.”
“The Colorado Basin states face a set of unique challenges compared to the rest of the country and it’s crucial that we work together to find common-sense solutions,” said Congressman Juan Ciscomani, co-chair of the caucus. “When the Colorado River System thrives, so does Arizona. I am excited to have Representatives Susie Lee of Nevada and Chris Stewart of Utah join our growing coalition of lawmakers dedicated to uniting the region.”
Additional caucus members include Representatives Greg Stanton (D-AZ), Grace Napolitano (D-CA), Jay Obernolte (R-CA), Doug Lamborn (R-CO), Yadira Caraveo (D-CO), Dina Titus (D-NV), Mark Amodei (R-NV), Melanie Stansbury (D-NM), Teresa Leger Fernandez (D-NM), and John Curtis (R-UT). A similar effort is being led in the U.S. Senate by Colorado Senator John Hickenlooper.
The Colorado River provides water for over 40 million people in the West, spanning the 7 Colorado River Basin states of Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming. The Western U.S. continues to experiencerecord-breaking drought conditions and water shortages, and Lake Mead and Lake Powell, the country’s two largest reservoirs, are at less than three-fourths of their average level.