Wednesday February 8, 2023


As the Colorado River sinks further into crisis and tensions rise between Western states over how to divvy up painful water cuts, a bipartisan group of senators are formalizing a new caucus to examine how Washington could help.

What began as an informal group convened by Democratic Sen. John Hickenlooper of Colorado has grown to a council of senators that represent seven Colorado River basin states – Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, Arizona, California and Nevada, according to Hickenlooper’s office. Details of the group were shared first with CNN.

What to do about the shrinking Colorado River and in the vanishing water in America’s largest reservoirs, Lake Mead and Lake Powell, has quickly become the most pressing issue for these Western senators. The river’s water sustains 40 million people, some of the West’s biggest cities and major agricultural hubs.

“I think the Senate should be partners” with the states, Hickenlooper told CNN. “There might be additional resources that are needed to really solve this. I think most experts feel this is not just a drought – there is some level of aridification, desertification.”

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