IMPORTANT VOTING INFORMATION
Background: The growing concern over the Colorado River’s ability to support a population of 50 million people in the western U.S. culminated last year in a water-management accord involving seven states and Mexico. But with the dual pressures of climate change and population growth only expected to exacerbate the challenge of water shortages, don’t expect the issue to dissipate. Colorado has a state-level plan for managing river usage, but the federal government will have a role to play in mediating the competing demands of the seven states and Mexico, where residents, farmers and environmental groups have concerns about having their needs met.
Water infrastructure upgrade needed
A: The campaign’s website does identify the challenges facing the Colorado River. How he would respond is less clear, but he supports efforts to ensure clean drinking water and upgrade infrastructure.
Federal government needs to help on Colorado River
A: Sanders said it’s the federal government’s responsibility to fully fund existing management programs to protect and restore the Colorado River. In 2016, he met with the Navajo Nation president, who urged him to grant the tribe water rights on the Colorado River. Sanders told The Sun that he believes the federal government needed to do more for the tribe. His climate plan also would address the issue of drinking water and aging infrastructure.
Responsible growth needed to manage water
A: On the issue of water shortages, Warren says the federal and state governments need to work together to encourage responsible growth, and monitor and manage drought risks. Her Blue New Deal calls for working with tribal governments on drought management. And to combat the effects of global warming-driven natural disasters, she has also committed to investing $1 trillion in communities most affected by climate change. Her campaign acknowledged the stress on the Colorado River basin but did not offer any specific actions she would take here.
A regional approach is needed
A: In his response, Bloomberg did not directly address water use and conservation in the Colorado River basin. But he said his experience as a big-city mayor in a region with competing interests gives him the experience to help negotiate a workable solution with the states.
Colorado River flow sign of “existential threat”
A: The decreased water flow in the Colorado River is an “existential threat” related to climate change, Steyer says. He said his administration would study options for responsible management and consider conservation technology, voluntary cutbacks, water rights and the agriculture industry. As part of his broader water plan, Steyer said he would find $75 billion to protect upstream watersheds and groundwater, as well as undo the Trump administration’s rollback of regulations.
Less water use is key
A: She did not respond to questions sent through the campaign, and her campaign website is short on details, other than promising to reduce water use and address water shortages.