(The Center Square) - A bipartisan group of congressional lawmakers is looking to tackle water issues involving the Colorado River.
Rep. Joe Neguse, D-Colo., announced that he was leading the effort to find solutions regarding the Colorado River Basin by creating the Congressional Colorado River Caucus.
"As the Representative of the headwaters of the Colorado River, I'm honored to be joined by colleagues from the Upper and Lower Basin States in launching the Congressional Colorado River Caucus. Together, and working with our colleagues in the Senate, we will collaborate with each other and state and local leaders, putting the interests of our communities above all else and working together towards our shared goal to mitigate the impacts felt by record-breaking levels of drought. We must protect the reliability and consistency of this critical water source--and we're ready to get to work," Neguse said in a statement.
In negotiations involving how to utilize water resources in the West, many states have been at odds with California - the most populated state that also enjoys senior water rights - on how to share. The caucus will include California Reps. Grace Napolitano and Jay Obernolte.
Rep. Juan Ciscomani, R-Ariz., said Wednesday that the caucus is a crucial opportunity to discuss the ongoing water crisis impacting Arizona and other states. As Arizona gets over a third of its water from the Colorado river, according to the Arizona Department of Water Resources, it's become an urgent focus among state and local lawmakers. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, I-Arizona, called on California to collaborate with the other basin states in January in order to find solutions.
"I am proud to join Representative Neguse in launching the bipartisan Congressional Colorado River Caucus. Water is our most precious resource, and we must address the uncertainty caused by the severe drought that is impacting 40 million residents of Arizona and the Southwest. I look forward to collaborating with my colleagues on solutions that bring together the Upper and Lower Basins and secure a strong water future for us all," Ciscomani said in the statement.
The statement mentioned that a similar effort is underway in the Senate by Sen. John Hickenlooper, D-Colo.