tv Experts Testify on Response to Colorado River Drought Conditions CSPAN October 19, 2021 12:57am-3:26am EDT
drought conditions. it is two and half hours >> colorado river drought conditions response measures for the first two meetings on this important subject under committee rule any opening statement will be limited to the chairman and ranking minority member unless we hear from witnesses sooner top keep them on their schedule so statements need to be part of the record by 5:00 p.m. today or whichever comes first ring no objection so ordered. also asking unanimous consent representative susie the so
ordered the chair may also declare a recess the statements documents and notions with electronic repository so with in person meetings members are responsible for their own microphone. please mute when you are not speaking only you will be muted to avoid in every background noise if you are experiencing any technical problems should inform staff immediately and i will recognize myself for a a brief opening statement. thank you again for joining us for theol first of two meetings we have on the colorado river drought conditions in response measures it is with the hardest working river in the
west because it does so much for so many the fact that we are needing to hear testimony through 15 witnesses covering two separate days the colorado river supplies across seven western states serving 40 million people from colorado to california and along the way the tributaries go through six national parks and monuments and $6 million of irrigated agriculture and one.$4 trillion of economic activity every single year. unfortunately the unprecedented drought conditions have enormous challenges for those who depend on it and the bureau of reclamation made the first ever shortage declaration with the lower colorado ever basin due to severe drought and reservoir conditions would
have triggered water release from lake mead and these are actions that were recently taken in the upper basin as well to slow the declining water levels. the two largest reservoirs have declined and has not been seen sense first filled and understandably has a lot of national attention and concern after more than two decades of drought with no and insight it is clear for most of us that climate change is fundamentally altering the colorado river and the amount available which is already over allocated. climate scientists are telling us to expect hot or dry conditions and less water to be available in a the upcoming years and some scientist describe what we are now seeing in the southwest is a long time shift that has a
multi- decade negative drought this is deeply concerning for those who depend on the colorado river and particularly for communities that already face water insecurity challenges that have long affected tribalge communities more than any other across the colorado river basin. there are 30 tribal nations. under which was first recognized thetr supreme court and then for enough to secure and maintain a viable homeland do colorado management and decision-making. but moving forward to play a significant role. and i look forward to t more
discussion on that need today so while we face significant challenges to deal with the worst effects of the drought including the calendar colorado river contingency plan which was authorized through legislation led by the chairman from the last congress but still more action is needed and we look forward to hearing from tribal government witnesses for whatve can be done to respond to the unprecedented climate challenges across the colorado river basin to also discuss initiatives led by members ofh this committee which include investment in near-term drought response and water rights settlements and drought proof and those fund managers across the colorado river basin. i look forward to hearing more
today —- week about the future of the colorado management plan to incorporate climate. i will now yield and recognize the ranking member for his opening marks. >> this is incredibly important not only due to the seven states of colorado that as youis mention this is the first of a two-part hearing with the o two decades long drought very happy we are spending that kind of time it is that important but as we know the drought isn't affecting just of colorado that oregon and all the western united states and the
last meeting which was five months ago five. 8 million acres burning in california and with the climate region. and thenn was zero allocations of water and they are not the only one. the absence of water thousands of people are desperately worried that another drought would be the nail in the coffin and communities across the west with the supply chain to rely on foreign countries for the shortages today our discussion is about choices between a lotce of different uses of water and listening to folks talk about how we make
those choices. so little bit about the history of the colorado but if there was ever i an illustration on the microcosm basis the situation is so reflective of what we will be seeing all over the west it will be a template of some sort for the issues we are f facing in oregon and nevada and so forth. so it is the incredible value of the colorado system i know there is many find fault how the colorado was developed i know the book science be damned it is an interesting
book with the money on —- the monday morning quarterback but they make some good points about optimism but on the other hand without storage can you imagine about what is happening now in california and other places by the systems? i literally spent hundreds if not thousands of hours with all types of water litigation never ending negotiations over impossible circumstances also with the columbia river treaty and on and on it is welcome in every way.
and may not have sweater anticipate those breakthroughs today and that is the possibility for everybody that needs it. and i look forward to a productive conversation. >> i understand the full chair has been a great leader of these issues you are recognized for five minutes just a quick comment the vital discussion that your committee is not overlooking and we
appreciate that very much and then to associate myself mr. chairman we need a comprehensive initiative to deal with theoi colorado river. and the point i think it's really important. i mentioned watershed but that means protection as well and doing with those resources to have settlements and then to
use. and then to create viable communities. so that is where we are at and i yelled back. >> will hear testimony starting with the first panel with federal and tribal government witnesses. and with the witness diversity survey and witnesses may refer to their materials for information on that with the committee rules please limit your statements to five-minute the entire statement appears in the hearing record when you began speaking that time i
will start counting down it will turn orange with one minute left for those who are joining remotely to lock the timer on your screen. please remember to meet yourself. the assistant secretary from the department of interior and the chair now recognizes the gentleman for five minutes. >> do we have the assistant secretary?
>> can you hear me? thank you. >> thank you for your patience i am honored to be honored to be here with you today with the ongoing drought conditions is also significant the colorado river binds uss together. and then to find a way with thosec conditions we are facing. and then to continue to work together to address those ongoing challenges that
includes extreme temperatures and then plan science that are affecting our community and environment. and that is the challenges of climate change by utilizing science -based strategies and working cooperatively through the community that relies on the river. to the state tribes and local entities throughout the west. since january we are providing fundingg and for those that we
average and that historically low levels. but then august 16th to announce the operations for next year. >> and then to plan ahead for these conditions. and then to utilize the technical expertise. and then with our partners. and we will continue to support additional investment to include investments in new technology to meet the needs
of the community to use the federal resources. that testimony we were here today will highlight those challenges around the colorado river basin with the existing ndtools. and then to with the environment. and the progress we have made will be accomplished with the state and the tribe thank you for holding his hearing today
and answer any questions as a follow-up.p. >> thank you assistant secretary i will call on the congresswoman to introduce our next witness. >> thank you so much chair for giving me the opportunity to participate in this important hearing i really excited the two constituents can testify today i have known darrell going back decades as the general counsel he is the water administrator for the nation and among many also the cofacilitator but the colorado river basin and the chairman of water is like a partnership
for communities seeking sustainability and equity thank you so much for being here today we look forward to your testimony. >> you are recognized for five minutes. >> thank you ranking member h and members of the subcommittee i can go on without acknowledging of course with a long decades long and also my fellow friends through new mexico thank you so much. it's so nice to hear your so thank you for that as well. and thank you chair on —- chairman for the opening
remarks as well. and then coming from the lovely durango colorado that you may or may not know has an enrollment of over 30 percent of native americans that is a pretty special place to be at so i will paraphrase the testimony it will take seven minutes to read the whole thing that i am with the hickory apache nation. and in the north central new mexico and on the colorado border with a significant water t raising and it has been mentioned i have the honor to be my water administrator for the legislative counsel and to speak on behalf of the nation
and with the importance to my tribe which is the water rights. with aan backdrop of understanding and then the situation with climate and then we had a conversation is not only of the importance of the tribe and then this country as a whole talk about past present and future. and then with the tribes of the state government need to be at the decision-making table and at least 25 percent
have historically been excluded fromca decision-making or long after decisions have been made. so the tension and the action of this committee represents the beginning of a new chapter of management of the colorado river with the responsibility and it's important to understand and then continue to do so today despite mother nature's challenges to terminate and exterminate an assembly indigenous people we have experience with adaptive living and then to honor the people that keep us alive.
and then to be the 100th anniversary the foundation a lot of the river and it's in time to understand that context where my tribe was at that time in 1887 even after all trail of tears we survived through the homeland the government tried to make the farmers a and ranchers that we did not establish a governance structure through the lreorganization act and cannot vote in elections until 1948. it's important to note that nearly 100 yearsth after the colorado contact of the tribal
settlement. so as mentioned before there is a lot of conversation how are we inclusive to make this part of the process? you cannot allow for any that to happen but that is a way to create something that we don't have w to re-create a model from the columbia river basin it looks similar in the component of what can be built for the future but what the tribes have and the commitment for the thousands of years the current structure does not account for that so not only the tribal for voices to be included in the conversation that those that haven't been build a future that together in the basin would be
really unique to transform those sovereign relationship so i really appreciate the time and please i ask you to take a look at my testimony i go into specifics not only what the division is and how we can participate but also the work we have done in the basin to build on that collaborative effort. >> thank you so much for sharing that and finally we will hear from the chairwoman from the colorado river indian tribe you are y recognized for five minutes. >> good afternoon chairman and ranking member. my name is amelia i am the chairwoman of the colorado river tribe. i appreciate the opportunity to testify about the drought
and its impact on the colorado river. that is the namesake of our government also thank you to the chairman for his support for all native people in tribal government the colorado river indian reservation is separated by more than 70 miles of colorado river running to our land from california and arizona the other right today for 719,000 acres and currently using over 300,000 acres the same amount used by the state on —- state of nevada the river has sustained us i am here today to tell you we are committed to helping support the river that has provided for us and we have water to offer for this effort the colorado river is suffering not onlyy from drought that climate change forcing all of us to change our relationship
we must use the water more efficiently to ensure the each drop provides maximum benefits so others are not cut off entirely. this will require new and improving delivery infrastructure especially in tribal reservations including ours. we have received funding from the water smart program and usda to make improvement to the irrigation project and our farmland but the need exceeds the capacity of these programs and our ability to provide 50 percent matching funds by joining with the state and local and private sector the creative partnerships we started to make up for the lack through the irrigation project. thee committee's inclusion of
$150 million of reconciliation proposals to assist tribal governments will greatly help us and other tribes we hold the senior water rights and is a largest single user from the colorado river and arizona our water rights given by the us supreme court decision was a priority date of 1865 and is not unlikely to be shortened despite the challenges are tribe faces we are willing to help the lower basin through the drought contingency plan authorized by legislation and approved by this committee the colorado river indian tribe with more than 150,000 acres from lake mead and system conservation this water and
contribution since 2016 has raised the water level by more than 3 feet and in addition we have been working with the state of arizonan environmental leaders to develop a legislative proposal to authorize us to release water to other users in the state this is the same right that congress has authorized for other tribal governments in arizona and across the west. because our water rights were adjudicated by the supreme court congress has not acted on them and we act authority to release water because of the prohibition in the 300 year old trade and intercourse act without the right to lease the water wewa can do little to assist those communities or our neighbors on the river his face drastic water shortages in the coming years.
we have worked with stakeholders in the state of over five years to develop post legislation to provide the same sovereign rights over our water that other tribal governments have. our proposed legislation will help to make arizona more water resilient and to provide our tribe with the financial resources to have improvement to the irrigation project so water use can become efficient greater efficiency on the reservation we can do more to help the river the colorado river indian tribes are committed to working with the united states to support on river habitat including providing more water and land for endangered species protection our legislative proposal will permit us to secure the water supply to the third parties including
municipalities on the river and those served s facing shortages this may reduce the demand for groundwater companies that are not sustainable and arizona the first priority water rights have been diverted directly from the colorado river with little to no best of reducing direction on —- to limit the need for new or delivery infrastructure seeing our water for off reservation use does have a cost if you visit our reservation you will see more than 10000 acres of farmland sitting fallow a reminder our people have chosen to protect the health of the river our legislative proposal only allows releasing of water we have used on the reservation four out of five years this will keep the river
and all other users fall. >> thank you. >> we request the right to decide for ourselves. it's an honor to be here today and i thank you for inviting rime. >> we appreciate that money remind members ofor the committee that rule three d imposes a five minute limit on questions i willut recognize numbers starting with myself chair florez thank you for joining us i appreciate it the conversation of how you have the same that has provided us foriv so long and then you continue by talking about how your tribe will support water use to release the strength of
the colorado river i have no doubt about your commitment and appreciate your comments but i do want to follow up on that subject but the national environmental policy act with those environmental protections and federal law with those environmental impacts of any and those alternatives with the harmful environmental impact and unintended consequences so as you develop and refine your legislation, will you support that process and other environmental protections in a manner similar to what i understand has been done with other tribal areas and elsewhere? >> thank you for your question. yes. we will follow all of the requirements that have then
imposedmp. >> also we have legal entitlements with 5 million acres of feet of water every year and with global warming in a more realistic of hydrology in the basin we may only be able to deliver something much less than that i'm hearing maybe 12.3 million acres so given the math problem how do you view the idea to prioritize future water leases to prioritize other actions to help us reduce overall consumption to address the systemicc shortage? >> can you repeat the question? it was agaga long question.
>> you know we have an imbalance of thee entitlements that exceed the hydrology the basin will provide so how do you prioritize conservation with future leases and also sthe actions that can help with overall consumption. >> aq for the question and propose legislation only permits us to release water we have been using already on the reservation so we are required to reduce consumption used to make water available. >> thank you. and the time i have left i have a couple of quick questions for the secretary. i want to start with large-scale water recycling we are seeing some promising collaboration in that regard
that we have historically done on a smaller scale that with larger scale projects we can provide supply for millions of people. where does that fit into our planning and future on the basin? >> thank you. water recycling is a very important component in the authorization proposed with infrastructure package will be helpful and to give opportunities to continue that collaboration among the states and to partner between the federal government and local entities who are doing so much on the ground and we'll have to do conservation in every state going forward and thank
you for thinking proactively about that. >> with a limited time i have left can you speak quickly about salt and see restoration not just int california but other states quick. >> thank you for recognizing the importance i formally lived and worked in california i saw this firsthand and yesterday meeting with representatives and the ability of the salt in the sea helps at the the interactions within california to help create stability with the other states and it was great to see support from the representatives in arizona with the funding and support
and those that support this effort as well so that recognition is a very broad concept. representative glad to see you back on the screen are you ready to go. >> i am. >> you are recognized. >> thank you mr. chair. the situation i know you are familiar with has led this year to a choice between in stream interest and far on —- farmers on the other day here in colorado we see that the same situation is approaching and that is through incredible amounts of hard work to avoid such a stark choice. but let's assume the worst and when it comes to the future
tell us what you think the outcome would be if it came down to the colorado on the one hand and water users on the other will the same thing happened on the colorado? >> thank you for that question and as you noted we have eenormous challenges and we have been in close coordination with your office i know how important these issues are to you and i thank you know we have been working very hard to balance several competing demand for insufficient water supply we have on record the worst drought ever this past year and it is a horrible situation the colorado river basin needs
to be a model including with respect to the endangered species there are three different recovery programs that have a wide range of support of water users from the environmental community and the tribes as well so we have a strong record i think it is a good model we appreciate being a part of the conversation. >> thank you for the work the bureau has done an extraordinarily difficult situation but i'm really trying to call out the high probability we will see this happen again and again as a
walk on —- look into this very short water futures i'm hoping what we can do is address the endangered species act in the way that you alluded to it that people are working together to how to make this work w the all or nothing the zero-sum game i don't think is the proper future i think that is one we try to make sure everybody gets something in these situations as opposedtt to cutting everybody off and the reason i bring this up is because people are suffering so greatly the damage even notwithstanding the effort to help people out so i welcome this conversation today because i see the same thing coming on the colorado that we had to deal with with the
climate this yearea and i'm wishing we don't have to deal with it again forgive me for going on but it's such an important thing to the people not only in my area but the valley project in california so now i will shift over to the chairwoman and you mentioned the colorado river indian tribes have worked with stakeholders and that state of california over five years y with that propose legislation so what in your opinion are the major barriers to have that bill happen? >> then major barriers for legislation is to get everyone on the same page over the past five years we've had meetings
and a voice and not having a voice was one of the barriers. but now we do. stakeholders and other entities are recognizing the see the water and first priority water rights. and then they been participating in the pilot program to fallow our land and we have been committed to keep our and the bargain to keep the water inro lake mead with the pilot program so they were welcomed to join in to be part of the solution and not a hindrance in saving the river. it has always taken care of us
we need to take care of this river there are many other barriers but that was the main barrier that we recognized from the water allocations to view and see all of the shortages. >> i did not have my clock on do i have time? >> you are one minute 18 seconds into the red. the answer is no. but we can come back thank you for your comments and bringing up the dire conditions in the climate basin which we both represent another gentleman is aware that every interest has been suffering.
the downstream communities i represent and what you have alluded to heral also getting hammered there are no winners in theug drought condition so i just want to make the point and a chair will now recognize the gentleman for five minutes. >> thank you mr. chairman for holding this important hearing. historically i have been involved in this but the precious water resource weci depend on is one of the most pressing challenges we face not only for western states but ultimately what will determine if we are able to live and support a population not only for our country but around the world.
most of you know part of the change that was litigated for decades at the final allocation and allocated seven.5 million to the upper basin states and that includes arizona and california and it was determined in the sixties the average yield was 16 per year but the fact that was over allocated we know that today the water proposal is 12.4 million. that is part of w the challenge and the native americans in the nationstates clearly have
an important requirement that they afforded their r water rights as well and those that have determined they have rights to the river that have yet to be resolved and that is on top of what has already been determined to be allocated. so we have more demand and since the sixties all southwestern states have grown with more demand on that water talking about new mexico and arizona and nevada california, colorado. so how we deal with this with climate change is really the issue at hand. so now to ask my question we
have to use all the water tools in our toolbox in california we get water from a number of different sourceser but the primary sources the colorado rivers basin. how does federal investment including improving conveyance how california and the entire westerne states impact our water supply? >> thank you congressmen. it comes from you guys. >> as long as he gives me the ten seconds. [laughter] >> it'sl a deal. >> that's pretty generous. >> thank you for your leadership on these issues. and from the federal perspective it does absolutely make a difference with respect to water supply but there is a
strong connection that we are seeking to achieve in the colorado river basin the other sources of supply for california that is a clear recognition that exist. our infrastructure proposal included investment to modernize the aging infrastructure with water recycling and innovative technologies to more efficiently use water and making investment and conservation throughout the basin. >> i'm a day supporter of that only have 45 seconds left and you have the working group and the partnerships as part of the water subcabinet meeting and we in california with multiple sources are looking at ways to better reinforce our old conveyance to provide the ability to reduce through
solar power and other means to the degree we can use these conservation tools to improve water for farmsor and our communities with the extreme drought conditions, we will talk more about that money but in the next hearing i would like to know how you did the various effort allocate these funds and how we can work with you so all the states impacted by the colorado river including california can participate in thehe allocation of these funds that are desperately needed. thank you chairman and the subcommittee chairman on reconciliationon we could add another $500 million for drought purposes and this is important. >> thank you to the gentle man and now the representative
will go next you are recognized. >> thank you chairman for allowing me for the witnesses and first of all thank you to all of them to bring this issue and knowing what is happening in the other part of the state is important to me and i think the witnesses have demonstrated what can be achieved by working together so thank you but i will yield my time to the ranking member. >> thank you so much for that yield. i will make sure i utilize only the two and half minutes so i give it back to the chair. but a question back for just a
moment noting the need for continued improvements for system modeling tools, what is reclamation doing in that regard? are you working on design a better tools to tell us what we can anticipate for for further shortfalls occur? >> thank you representative, we absolutely are continuing to work to develop the best available information we can utilize for our own decision-making but also have available for the communities and water managers around the west including the colorado river basin. we work closely with other federal agencies like the forecast center and the weather service for the information we are provided we
have excellent technical staff at reclamation that communicate very effectively with those folks were working on this issue. >> thank you for that and with that mr. chair i i will yield back nowe i hope we are even i will stay with my five minutes f the next time and thank you to the congresswoman for the yield. >> order is restored that is much appreciated. the gentleman from florida is recognized. >> thank you so much mr. chairman generally coming from the florida average and water country although we've had some stresses on it we are proud of the eight.3 billion in the build back better act to help with western water issues in a noted you needed
an extra time but i wanted to yield to youou if you wanted the remainder of my time. >> i wish you would yield some of your water to california. >> to find the cross nation pipeline may have more than enough. >> there are people who still talk about that kind of thing. i don't think it will ever be feasible but i appreciate the thought. i do not have further questions for this round. >> then i yield the remainder of my time. >> thank you very much for the opportunity and mr. chairman as well. i would like to get back to the area we were discussing earlier with the fiscal
appropriations in 2022 we have water related resources of one.$7 billion and that not only deals with the president's request for additional funding fiscal year 21 but the total comes at one. 95 and then the bipartisan infrastructure bill after that another five.3,000,000,001.one for water storage or aging infrastructure which i can use some of those funds for the challenges in california we care about projects that are identified in the reclamation assessment report. and then the local communities whether native american or small girl communities after drinking water doesn't meet with state or federal standards how quickly can we get that money out from that
reconciliation money i spoke of earlier. i don't know what happens with that that what is the strategy the bureau has to get the monies out as quickly as possible where it is most needed? >> thank you for the support from congress on these issues. the short answer they is building upon our existing program to have the additional funding out to the community and for the programs that we have rehab backlogs with the additional respect for funding and then working in coordination by design. >> sour part of that and the
bureau obviously has its challenges to be sure but when we work on the settlement agreement as an example, we allow under that legislation with the ability of the bureau to work with water districts under the thought they can facilitate the implementation of funding anymore expedited fashion through a more cumbersome process. there are different ways you can deal with local agencies to facilitate to expedite the funds quick. >> we are always looking for ways to be more efficient we figured out how to allocate funding over the 220 different districts throughout the west.
>> and native american groups as well. >> yes. absolutely. we have expanded the tribal support programs and have prioritize the ability to efficiently work with them in coordination with other partners like fish and wildlife service to be as efficient as possible. >> myos time is almost expired but i think it would be helpful for the subcommittee and the full committee to get an idea of what is realistic to be expected for what is already allocated that can be moved out and then the next several years that would be helpful for all of us. >> absolutely. >> your time is expired ms. stanford from new mexico is recognized for five minutes. >> thank you for convening
today's hearing and the witnesses for joining us today i am especially proud to see so many new mexicans here in mexico top exports are green chili and water experts we have many here today. as we know in new mexico it is part and parcel of the culture and the economy and the future of our state a second one —- assistant secretary we are so pleased to havehe you representing in his role we are grateful for your leadership and with the partnership that requires our state engineer as a fellow from new mexico i'm excited to have you here today to talk about the colorado river and other crucial watersheds our waters and communities have been gripped across the west of a drought but we are no
strangers to water scarcity as tribes have lived on these lands we have shared waters across many generations. but it is clear what we see today is part of a much larger trend of a changing climate as temperatures get hotter the snowpack is declining and we are seeing fundamental changes in the hydrologic system. nowhere is it more visible than in new mexico where our communities facing drought conditions at the same time the state had the largest number of disaster declarations due to flooding and wildfires. it is clear climate changes here and threatening the ability of our community to bring water to the fields. ivers which depend on these
life-giving waters. while the colorado river has been strained by these changes, we also see the partnerships in the basin led by the panelists joining us here today that are helping to bring transformational change to the management and of these partnerships are crucial not only to the communities in the colorado river but those that flow through my district that depend on the water transfers from the colorado to meet the needs of the community's and the endangered species. as we look to the future and managing the systems in a time of climate change, we need to continue to leverage these collaborative partnerships to invest in the best technology that we can to invest in modernizing the infrastructure and operational requirements and ensure the communities are helping directed the decisions made about the water system.
i believe our job as lawmakers is to make sure that we are putting into place all of the changes that are necessary to end power the community by passing transformational water policies, working to protect, trust and treaty responsibilities, water rights in investing and water management agencies investing in resilient infrastructure as we are doing in the build back better act and investing in our water science a data and technology and protecting those. that is our charge as public servants and caretakers of these sacred waters. with that, mr. chairman, i would like to use my remaining time to ask the assistant secretary you've worked across the west in colorado and many of the rivers through many years. can you please share with us what you think congress can do to lift up the best of these collaborative efforts and what we can do to support your work?
>> thank you. i think the work the congress is doing in the bipartisan infrastructure package is a great example of how that helped us do what you mentioned in your remarks. it allowed us to include our infrastructure and to do more water planning and drought contingency planning efforts in these programs that we have and i think the underlining emphasis is exactly the way that we want to continue doing business in the colorado river basin. >> thank you so much.
if you would indulge me i just want to say that i'm grateful that we have mr. hill here today who's such an incredible resource on how we make sure they have a seat at the table as we are directing and protecting our water rights for the tribes and communities moving forward we are going to continue this new mexico thread by recognizing the congresswoman for the next five minutes. >> are you getting an echo or am i alright? >> i love the sound of your voice but we are hearing it twice. [inaudible] >> okay is this better? >> sounds pretty clear.
go ahead. >> [inaudible] earlier this year i did a tour in my district and at each stop leaders told me about the impact of the climate crisis on the communities. something that resonated is the importance of tribes being talked to before things happened. the users immediately which we seize water from the colorado noted that they were never consulted and constructed and they noticed how it negatively impacted the canal and structures but they just want part of the conversation. in your testimony, you talked about and the idea that you
named the sovereign governance team and you thought it was important that this be created with the agreement. can you give us a short synopsis of what sovereign governance teams look like and what you want us to do and what should it look like in the consultation? did i go mute again? thank you for the question and acknowledgment. to understand right now there is no institutionalized inclusion of the tribal sovereigns. we have to rely on the status of
her and or the federal sovereign to represent our tribal water interests. and we've really built the foundation of understanding i think particularly in the colorado river basin in terms of the absolute need to be and that sovereign table with the federal government and the state sovereigns to make policy for the future of the colorado river because the current policy isn't inclusive of that and no matter how much you want to engage in the conversation of inclusion the structure doesn't allow for that right now so we are talking about drought and drought response, yes we can be part of the conversation and how to live sustainably so why not use the template of somebody that we've already created and that seems
to have worked to a large extent and this will do a number of things in terms of forwarding the colorado river when we start thinking about the culture and behaviors and how will we apportion those resources? >> let me get too quick questions in as you know the water supply project in my congressional district and with other surrounding communities. i'm going to put this together with other pipelines because what we have is access pipelines and finishing them have been delayed and we don't have the authorized spending level that is needed. we no longer have enough money
for the nation on amendments to the project authorization to take advantage, to make sure that we recognize the true cost and also we are going to have to make sure there's additional groundwater wells to supply the communities until the project is complete. i'm hoping that you will be willing to work with us to get that done. >> thank you. representative that is near and dear to my heart and i've been working on it very closely for 15 years. we would be happy to make sure your staff and yourself are aware of all the progress we have been making. we have been working very closely with folks there in the region of the navajo nation and in the local communities to
think creatively about how to make sure we have the effective components of the program and we would be happy to work with your office and others to make sure that we can make any adjustments that may be needed but i would be happy to participate in the groundbreaking ceremony and then i look forward to being able to participate if that portion of the pipeline has been completed, the managers did a great job with that and it's currently providing water and community and it's a great example of the commitment in the department of interior and the tribal needs in the state of new mexico. >> the time is expired and the chair recognizes the chairman of the full committee,
representative granholm of arizona. >> i think the chair for her comments and kind remarks. very much appreciated and as the chair woman knows all of us are very much aware of the significant contribution made to accomplish even that portion of the plan. let me follow up on something that the chair was asking. the comments if you throw out
other environmental protections, air quality, water quality, the job will be resolved. that's not true. it's not even a false choice. i asked this because i think it's important about the utilization and usage going forward. as you put together the proposal we at least prioritize the part that dealt with the deficit at the colorado river, the primary focus of it if i may ask. it's so prerogative to put in there what you want and i had knowledge that. my question is that something that is a consideration?
do we have the chairwoman? thank you for the question. we want our sovereignty protected to use the water as we decide. right now we can use the waters but our tribal members decided in the referendum that they do not want to make multigenerational commitments oe development. we are finding from the land leases they do not want the water to be committed in the same way. they are committed to helping the neighbors and overall environment so we want to have the authority to decide again for ourselves how to use our
and [inaudible] talk about that. more of a statement than a question but that's pretty obvious. you are muted. >> sorry about that. i'm very sorry. incredibly good question in terms of the tribe and the basin. we don't have the water rights yet in terms of the s structural deficit that's going on and the supply demand because where is that water going to come from in that particular climate because that tribe absolutely has a
right to water for domestic users even paramount to the settlement so it becomes important those that are unquantified because they have to be part of the conversation. >> the keyword and this is critical to that you've heard from the tribal nation today being at table with 25% of the resource they have to be at the table not only proportionately but with equity. in the past the table has been dominated by users whose
interests are on the busiest commercial side and how we create a balance after 2026. how do we create that balance? >> first you have to acknowledge -- [laughter] >> thank you mr. chairman. we recognize the importance of the involvement of the tribes and have been working very closely like the water and tribes initiative and partnership they also have a technical discussion going on with regular conversations and
it allowed multiple opportunities for interaction and then we think going forward we have to be as inclusive as possible with respect to the state representative, the local community, the nonprofit organization, the broad groups that are depending on the colorado river and need to be part of our discussion going forward. a. >> when this was created, it was a different west with a different constituents and voices that needed to be heard. >> thank you mr. chairman. >> thank you. and i know that as he was attempting to chime in he was going to remind us that he had
suggested the columbia river basin as a potential model as an answer i'm sure so i appreciate the testimony and everyone in the panel of federal and tribal witnesses. we are going to move to a second panel and i'd like to remind we are continually reminded of the side of it as well but i would finish the testimony before we bring back to members for questions and now introduce the second panel so we have the governors representing all of the states and the colorado river basin with us to present testimony. we will first hear from you. we will have representatives from the governors and we will hear first from mr. thomas
it's had a devastating impact in 2022 arizona will lose 18% of its total colorado river entitlement the tribes and municipal water users will result and they have come together to provide financial resources and wet water to partially mitigate those impacts. the likelihood is high and in 2023 arizona may lose an additional in mitigation for those reductions is unlikely. in august projections triggered a consultation provision in the lower basin plan. the actions we've taken to date are not enough. arizona, nevada and california have been looking to do more. official actions have two categories, mandatory cuts or additional conservation.
arizona's goal this conservation and not greater cuts. tribal and nontribal partnerships will achieve that goal. for the last two decades we have learned valuable lessons for managing the colorado river and they include first be vigilant in monitoring the reservoir. we must have data and modeling products by the bureau who possessed the best available science. to achieve outcomes to share the benefits and risks and three, and here to the collaboration among the states. mexico, the united states, some other stakeholders. number four, recognize that we are connected from wyoming to the cortez. incentivize actions that can serve lake mead. resources from the united states
must be tools in the toolbox and seven, continue state participation in discussions with mexico. as i mentioned they are key stakeholders in the management and critical to the settlements. arizona has 11 efforts tribes with rights yet to be determined in whole or in part. on the certainty attached to the climate change impact on the flow of the river and to the post 26 operating criteria further complicates the completion of the settlements but it's important to the state that those tribal claims be settled. in conclusion, the drought and climate change are presenting challenges and likely to increase over time. planning, management, conservation and collaboration across the political jurisdictions and among stakeholders create the likelihood for success and i
thank you again and stand ready to answer questions. we now go to peter nelson, the california chair man of the colorado river board. >> good afternoon. my name is peter nelson and i'm the chairman of the colorado river board of california and colorado river river commissioner. i'd like to thank the subcommittee on the wildlife and ranking member and other members of the committee for holding this hearing at a time of historic drought. regardless of why climate has changed, the record is clear. less than average precipitation is resulting in miserable runoff causing lake levels to plummet, putting 40 million americans at risk, environmental havoc and food production and compared all. the lord in california represents the collective
interests of colorado river water users in the state. we protect the rights and interest of california's water and hydropower resources. we provide peer to peer relationships being collaborated with the other basin states the federal government tries and mexico. california is also experiencing drought. allocations for the state water project contractors and the 0% allocation for 140% just to get a normal runoff. for the first time ever they are unable to produce power on the brighter side, california
stepped up in 2003 with the quantification settlement agreement to reduce colorado river usage by 800,000 annually and included mitigation measures. we achieved and succeeded conservation to the shortage criteria and 2019 drought contingency plan so metropolitan has 1.3 million in lake mead adding 14 feet of elevation. the irrigation district have concern and again to the zero reclamation. additionally, metropolitan, nevada, arizona and reclamation are currently collaborating and have a potential to create
150,000 acres annually of water in the region reducing the demand on the colorado river. naturally with the largest share of the river use would be the irrigation district. imperial has already participated in the largest urban transfer in the country and the need to address the litigation. california is collaborating with our sister states in the basin. native american tribes who need access to clean and reliable water. federal agencies, colleagues in mexico and developing the next set of colorado system operating guidelines we urged the
committee to support and provide funding or partnerships involving the regional recycling project just in conservation programs for the mitigation including addressing salt reduction in the paradox valley union. among all of the stakeholders in the basin that would have any chance of meeting these challenges and need the united states involved in these efforts. i look forward to addressing any questions that you may have. a. >> thank you mr. nelson. the committee will hear from the general manager of the southern nevada water authority. you are recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, representative
napolitano and members of the subcommittee for the invitation today. i serve as the general manager of southern nevada water quality. it is not news to this subcommittee that the unprecedented conditions on the colorado river have left both lakes powell and mead at low elevation. annual use today is approximately 14 million-acre and over the last 20 years, the river has given us an average of 12.3 million acre-feet. despite from the scientific community that in the face of climate change we must a brand for the future even less than 12.3 million. there is not yet anything
approaching the consensus within the river community as to how a dry of the future we should plan for. there's more evidence on the ground about with the colorado river is facing is not drought but a permanent transition to a dry future. and quickly reach agreement on what future scenarios we are lowering the plan for. defining the problem is the first step. we must develop additional supplies, pursuant to the conservation and make investments in technologies and tools that show promise in helping us achieve both. the agricultural and municipal sectors both work together and to that end, research is
underway to test in arizona. but the pace of engagement between urban and agricultural we must also recognize that the only near-term management strategy in the water conservation and infrastructure and a mere 1.8% of the rivers allocated closed. we must also develop additional supplies. metropolitan, the projects represent a long-term supply option for the lower basin and we urge the passage of the investment act. the regional projects of this
kind represent new supply into the lower basin. our progress towards sustainable solutions on the partnership and well communicated actions but the community is at a crossroads. we have a simple but difficult decision to make. do we double down on the promises of the last century and fight about realities. >> up next is the director of the colorado water conservation board. you are recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, chairman huffman and members of the subcommittee. thank you for the opportunity to testify today. i am the director of the colorado water conservation board and is director of the state water policy agency, and colorado's negotiator i want to
share my insight on the impact of drought and colorado and other basin state that in fact the water security from and interstate perspective. the entire colorado basin has been impacted by drought but those have been felt differently in the upper basin and lower basin because of where they sit. both of the reservoirs are from the uses and below the upper basin uses. having these large reservoirs above them have meant they've had some certainty in the water delivery. the lower basin states. in contrast the upper basin we've taken shortages nearly every year for 20 years. without that large reservoir we
are reliant on current runoff. it's for this reason the upper basin uses are variable. when the snow is abundant, water is available but when the snow is thin, the water isn't there and the users go without. a perfect example of the impact of climate change. having increased absorption of snowmelt and reduced spring runoff this year has been especially difficult. 90% of the state is experiencing drought. an example of the difficult situations that colorado is dealing with a major storage project in southwestern colorado received only one tenth of its water allocation this year and due to the compounding years of shortages, people across the state are considering
heartbreaking decisions. there's sociological and economic impacts to the community. the water shortages facing southwest colorado the last two years felt heavily on the tribes whose economy and communities depend on revenue generated from cross production. it also impacted the local recreational economy. these releases were made by the eminent needed provision of the drought response operation agreement part of the 2019 drought contingency plan. they were also releases from new mexico and wyoming. the conditions and warmer temperatures also left the forest. the record-breaking fires including three of the largest
wildfires and colorado's history. in total over 650,000 were burned and hundreds of homes were destroyed. we are still dealing with the aftermath including catastrophic mudslides with little vegetation to hold the soil in place tons of mud and debris down the slopes. closing interstate 70 for 17 straight days. it's important for me is the commissioner to make sure everyone who's worked impacts the river understands the undere challenges that colorado faces particularly as we implement the drought contingency plan and to consider the negotiation of the post 26 operations of the reservoir. as we look forward to those negotiations, one critical element would be meaningful engagement with the tribal nations and basin speaking at the commissioner i talked to the
representatives of the southern tribes regularly. colorado has water rights settlements with both of the tribes, but we must understand each tribe is different with different needs, values, histories and relationships. negotiators in each state should take the time to sit down with each to understand the unique positions and needs and it would be important to recognize in addition to supporting initiatives providing funding for infrastructure to access clean drinking water for tribes, colorado also supports ongoing efforts to fully fund implementation of the contingency plan, investments in the sustainability efficiency and recovery programs in the upper basin including through
the house resolution 5001. my discussion with folks across the state including tribal representative stakeholders, ngos and all types of water users helped me develop some principles that will remain at the forefront of my mind in the upcoming negotiations. i believe all of those here today can stand behind two of those goals. we must continue the spirit of the interstate collaboration and cooperation that has defined the work in the basin for 100 years. second we must provide water supply security and certainty for all. in the lower basin, upper basin 40 million people that rely on this critical resource we are committed to being part of the solution that works for all of the colorado river basin. thank you and i will be available for questions. >> thank you. we will now hear from john antonio the state engineer for the state of new mexico. you are recognized.
>> we are not getting audio from you unfortunately. and i don't think that you are on mute. it is pretty faint. can you try to give a little test here? let's keep working on that. can we come back in? i think if we can we should jump ahead to the general manager of the central utah water conservation district and then come back to mr. antonio when we
can get a little better volume. you are recognized. thank you for conducting this hearing i serve as the upper colorado utah commissioner and d the general manager for the central utah water conservancy district. the district is the state sponsor of the central [inaudible] project and also the largest of colorado river water utah. the colorado river provides over one third of utah's water supplies and it's fundamental to its prosperity. with such reliance on the river, the unprecedented drought in the mainstem reservoir storage and river flows is alarming. march 17th the governor declared
a state of emergency and urge them to use less water. the effectiveness of the statewide drought response. over this time last year we've reached the reduction as high as 32% as for his general manager the implementation of the largest conservation program of the water in utah. section 207 of the project completion act statutorily requires up to 80,000 acre-feet annually 50% more than the statutory requirements. nowhere is it more than the colorado river basin. further straining the river system that is reaching a breaking point.
the upper basin contingency plan includes the commitment by the division state for the feasibility of a temporary voluntary compensated management program. in addition the drought response agreement is also being actively implemented in this agreement governs the release of storage water with operational adjustments considered at lake powell. releases from these upper reservoirs are underway as we speak as has been mentioned. also the upper basin has routinely taken shortages measured by the significant reductions in water that is available for use by the system. like others we face challenges in supplying water to a state with explosive growth. overcoming these challenges is a tall order we must tackle with the inclusion of all colorado
river stakeholders. utah is committed to the development and use for the measurement of divergent use. one particularly important platform is open et. the continued congressional support of such work especially as it shifts from the research to the application arena as necessary. further use of such tools will allow for a consistent demonstration, excuse me, consistent determination of completion across all colorado river basin states. congressional support for the water infrastructure investment conservation programs, outreach, education and additional research is also critical. i grew up on a small farm in colorado and as a boy my favorite day was the day the snow melted and was turned into
the canals. i learned early on that water is finite and shared in a common resource. when it comes to the colorado river the most effective solutions must be collaborative. each are bound together by a common goal to utilize this precious resource in a responsible way that allows us to meet the needs and priorities of the communities. thank you again for the opportunities to share this information i would be happy to answer questions. thank you. >> let's go back and see if we can hear him now. i don't know what to say. we just are not able to hear you and so unfortunately while we can keep trying to work on that
suffices for the time being if we can troubleshoot the audio, i'm happy to include even the questioning but given that problem, we will now hear from mr. turrell of wyoming, commissioner to the upper colorado river commission. >> thank you ranking members of the subcommittee. am i being heard? >> yes. sounds great. thanks for checking. wyoming's commissioner to the upper colorado commissioner in wyoming governor representative on the colorado thank you for providing the opportunity to present testimony today on behalf of the state of wyoming.
you've heard about the conditions at lake mead and lake powell the impacts are not limited to the system reservoirs and the water shortages due to the extremely dry conditions. in wyoming as in other places we rely on whatever runoff is available to the rivers and streams and the water supply is not sufficient to supply all only the most senior water rights. therefore like the other upper basin states the users have routinely suffered shortages even though wyoming has developed less than two thirds of its full supply. during drought years, wyoming water use is reduced by more
than 20% compared to the years when water is more plentiful. the shortages get less attention and require more federal declaration. they carry with them economic impacts. collaboration will continue to be the key and responding to drought. since before 2000, the basin states reclamation mexico, basin tribal leaders, water users and others have collaborated to implement the innovative and proactive measures. and as the challenges increase, that collaboration must not only continue but in proof. we intend to continue that coordination as we develop the
reservoir operating. however, post 26 guidelines caused by this drought and can only be addressed by other measures. they continue to implement the drought contingency plans with the principal goal of which was to assure the compliance. further, releasing storage from upstream federal reservoirs as you've heard about is only a first line of defense to protect critical elevation. existing storage is finite and cannot protect that under many of the scenarios now being projected. such a program is even feasible in addition to demand management that faced difficult challenges to be resolved before it can be developed and implemented. more is needed for the resilience and to ensure the
federal commitments under the dc to be met securing access to clean water communities and the species recovery programs. there is a need to focus on the investments and opportunities including water storage infrastructure on the scale facilitating watershed and incentivizing and improving water supply forecasts. for the upper basin states into new mexico not responding to measures equally stretched across the entire basin. build the required development and implementation across federal agencies in cooperation with partnerships in the basin states and tribes, ngos and
other stakeholders. they are willing to engage in that collaborative effort and to sustain water resiliency and provide more information on the types of investments and opportunities most likely to help ensure the colorado river basin continues to support a thriving economy and a healthy environment. thank you for the opportunity to testify here today. i'm happy to answer any questions that you or the committee may have. >> thank you very much. we are going to move on to questions of the members right now if we can figure out the problem we will take him out of order and come back to him but in the meantime i'm going to recognize myself for the first set of questions and begin with mr. nelson from colorado. we spoke in the previous panel about the restoration and of
course this is a partnership that is being led by the state of california but includes tribes, local partners, environmental stakeholders, federal agencies. can you expand why the work is so important not just for those living near but for the larger community. >> thank you for the question. it is a delta part of the colorado river and it's important. first of the work that is being done now is associated with implementation of the settlement agreement that resulted in
nearly 500,000 conserved water supply that are then transferred to the coastal plainness of that's an important aspect. with other species. third, as it's a decreased since 2003 mitigated as well as the irrigation efficiencies within the district the exposed playa continues to expand and is resulting in a significant threat. it contains some of the highest
asthma rates and health issues. this air quality impact is a social and environmental issue that is critical to the region across the valley into the southwestern arizona and eastern. finally, i would say that it's worth acknowledging that the commitment for the collaboration between the obama administration and the state of california. that committed the state and federal government for a long time a series of checks that would be accomplished on the habitat restoration and $10 million for the state managed monitoring.
california suggests that it should be considered basically the foundation for the collaboration in the area. we have the mitigation plan and also making good progress on that. thank you, mr. nelson. i would like to talk about this large-scale water recycling potential division for bringing the new drought water to this shortage challenge in the water basin. can you speak about why adding something like that to the water supply portfolio would be so critically important and also the state of play for the large-scale projects. are we doing enough or should we be doing more? you've got the rest of my time. >> thank you very much, chairman.
first, just the water impact, the metropolitan impact could have as much is 160,000 acres feet of water to the system and with the regional. as we move into the future we really have to look at what is precious and available. all that water can be utilized and in terms of federal government, that is $450 million to gain in the bipartisan infrastructure will not just to
the water reclamation but also for federal compliance with the obligations. >> next up for questions, i am told that we may have finally achieved an audio connection with mr. antonio so we want to give all seven basin states equal time. i promised i would bring them in out of order. let's see if we can hear you and if he is willing to count down for a few minutes we will come back to him right after you. >> we can hear you. >> chairman huffman, ranking member, representative from new mexico, distinguished members of
the subcommittee, i'm the state engineer for new mexico. with priorities related to the river basin, the shortages in the 19 the river compact, the river basin states agreed to share the colorado river with each with the exclusive beneficial use of 7.5 million acre-feet of water per year. mimic's ghost apportionment is 11.5% of that amount and since 2000, the colorado river basin entered a period of continued drought and the upper division states have been taking shortages based on limited sites for the past two decades. in new mexico the water shortages occur annually in the san juan river basin including
the tributaries. to deliver to the municipalities along the rio grande water supply during the last decade and as an example in 2021 we experienced the shortage of 40%. one component of the drought contingency plan is the drought response operation agreement in june of 2021 the reclamation protected the critical elevation of less then six months and under the emergency provision of the reclamation coordination division state started releasing 181,000 acre-feet of this year from three main reservoirs to help boost the elevation of lake powell. ..
consideration this will need to be addressed for what we experience today from the infrastructure and public health and safety standpoint it is important to address the long-term challenges while retaining accessibility to authorize the amount particularly during the good years and is no easy task and in 2007 expiring in 202,640,000,000 people in seven states the lower colorado zero reclamation with zero modeling expected expertise responding to short-term priorities modeling refinements to the ppp implementation long-term priority with a 2026 operations with lake powell and mike on —- lake mead we
ask in the next one through five years. and then the build back better act of the reclamation settlement fund wildlife settlements that is an investment in our future as well as the upper colorado recovery act the seven states that agree to the compact on the basis for the resource and protected rights for almost one century the states have worked cooperatively with each other and the federal government and other partners and stakeholders to manage the systems with that adaptive management action within the confines of the river that's decision-making process with illegal policy aspects concurrently that they will strive to employ a fact-based approach that considers the holistic mission thank you.
>> thank you for your technical perseverance thank you for your forbearance. >> thank you mr. chair mr. tyrell from wyoming you mention it is something that needs to happen here in oregon we agree with you completely that watersheds are an essential part of the water system and of course restoration is essential activity but sadly we can't seem to get into the port and there is a prohibition of cutting down trees or trying to do things that would help dramatically to improve the watershed and water supply it is the craziest thing and we all know that we can't seem to get there so with the same
thing happening in wyoming somebody doing about it? >> . >> thank you for the question. i know i can speak to the sports in access to them we have also been not quite like oregon this year but in the fires in recent years those west of laramie were horrible and in my view if we are interested in that points to removing fuels are just healthy growth forest are valuable in terms of snow and maintaining those areas for the environment and people who rely on water so it would seem
and then could do nothing but help our conditions on the river. >> there is a lot of reference to collaboration and conservation and words like that. pretty general what i would be interested in knowing if the study had been done in your state first of all what type of conservation i can ask any of those seven states so don't want to pick on you particularly but i thank you did mention words like that so how much water is available for conservation across the board in your state quick. >> thank you for that.
as part of the colorado water plan conservation is one of the pillars of how we move forward to a long-range future of water for colorado. and conservation is just one of the solutions there is quantification along with gold but that isn't just the colorado river basin but across the entire state so there is over 400,000 cancellation major measures. and what would potentially be possible. >> i would love to see those numbers. so in utah of focus on
agriculture in situations like this. and agriculture is cut off and there's a lot more people in cities and farms. so what should the farmers be doing to have this focus they find themselves within? >> you are exactly right. and i agree that agriculture has had bad name for using water or wasting water for what he diverse and then that returns to the river than the next appropriators water supply. it's not as simple as people
think and it produces water for culinary purposes. has to be a market-based situation where there is an advantage using water that has historically been used for agriculture moving to municipal and it happens quite comfortably yet those conditions are set. >> i yield back. >> we are glad to be joined from the nevada delegation. >> thank you for giving an opportunity for this panel. i represent the heart of the las vegas valley with
40 million tourists come every year so the colorado river that goes to suppliers is a very important issue. i would like to address our representative. there are three factors happening all at the same time. one is one of the fastest growing areas in the country it increased by 18 percent over the last decade. this has been going on for much longer than that we went one.3 million with two.3 million between 2002 and today. there was a time you had to build one elementary school per month to keep up with the growth. we are the fastest community in the country. that is the second factor and we have the smallest amount of water in the allocation to start with and yet we're one of the best stewards in the
amount that we do get. i was glad that you mentioned in your comments the large-scale watering investment act which i am a cosponsor of and the many that would go to water projects in the bills that are considered for infrastructure. all this time the three factors are going on we reduce our consumption of water. it is amazing had we been able to do that. did you talk about how we can sustain growth or continue growth while also using our consumption of water from the river? >> absolutely representative. since 2002 we have reduced our depletion volume by 23 percent while at the same time oh adding over 800,000 new and we
do that largely but we have arrived we need to continue that conservation and the legislature adopted this year. that prohibits the use of colorado river water. that will save about 10 percent you worried nobody's kids or grandkids. so as you say climate changes in doing us any favors it will go 9 gallons just because of the increase.
>> you have where you could convert your lock —- your yard into a desert landscape can you share how that works? >> absolutely. we refer that to our water landscape program we pay three dollars per square foot we incentivize people to take out grass and the result is staggering. and as local friends. and then to laying in t in teenage sod around the equator. >> people think of golf courses and resorts and mountains and things but in the reality they use a small percentage of the water sitting here in the valley. >> that's correct. clark county which is home to 76 percent of the states
population uses less than 5 percent of the water that is available for nevada. and that wet brings in 45 million visitors per year they use less than one tenth of 1 percent. >> are you working on any work conservation project? >> i'm sitting on the board of trustees for those conservation initiatives for lake mead and any others. >> are you involved with the st. george water project? >> i am not. >> i will save that for next time. i yield back. >> we will go to your nevada neighbor you are recognized
for five minutes. >> thank you chair and ranking member for hosting this important meeting into all of the witnesses for their excellent testimony. is the congresswoman said the entire southwest is facing and print unprecedented drought supplying water for over 25 million people across nevada arizona california at the lowest level since construction in the thirties and to help address this crisis so much more must be done with that consumptive use and i want to thank mr. tyrell for recognizing the importance of this program and the testimony which the congresswoman developed and here in the house i have introduced the open access
with fellow colleagues of this committee under the department of interior that uses publicly available data from satellite and weather stations to provide measurements and estimates to make decisions about water use and also been working to secure federal funding for the large tail water project and in fact my colleagues on this committee with a large scale investment act was included in the bipartisan infrastructure bill. the southern nevada water authority with the metropolitan water district multibillion-dollar recycling project can you speak to how
this project will provide tangible benefit to nevada california along the count on —- colorado river basin? >> absolutely with the simplest explanation to take wastewater discharge through the pacific ocean and to be injected into aquifers thereby expanding the use of that water in california so that would invest $750 million toward the capital needs of that project and then we leave a large amount in lake mead for use of the project central
arizona conservancy district also signs on to participate in that project in a very real way of the bipartisan infrastructure bill with large amounts of funding from local agencies. >> and how do you rank and the fight against the worsening drought of all of the schools in your toolbox? >> of all the testimony that has added new water and how many more needs there are for that is not currently available but that is a project for the future. >> im looking out at my backyard that has artificial
turf so we have been fighting to combat drought as a member appropriations so in addition to have recycled water partnerships have any other specific types of investment of water related climate resilience in the colorado river basin that need federal assistance quick. >> and with that federal obligation to have that 100 acre-feet of lake mead and then the reclamation to meet that obligation and so to provide that reclamation with additional funding but also expand the programs in terms
of agreements. >> thank you very much i yield. >> thank you to our colleagues from nevada for closing us out on a hopeful note talk about projects and strategies that can make a difference to adjust these challenges think into the witnesses. >> do i get a chance? >> of course. we want to include you i did not have that in my notes you are recognized. >> i have been listening tentatively to all of the debate and i appreciate it very much. thank you. let me make two statements for what my father would say is the $64000 question that i
suspect it is a lot more than $64000 these days. the first statement is i subscribe to the comment earlier the water allocation for the production of food is a national security issue less than 5 percent of the nation's population is engaged in agriculture production the majority of americans maybe as a result of the pandemic they begin to understand that food does not come from your restaurant or your favorite store but from farmworkers and the second point and want to make is part of the witnesses statements it's not new and something that we subscribe to is used to all the water tools in the toolbox and with the
quantification that i strongly subscribe to that notion because we've done a lot of conservation but for all the witnesses it would be nice if we could quantify build upon in terms of conservation that is a part of one of the water tools in the toolbox that back to the point i made my opening statement that quantification in the law of the river with the 17 million feet of water throughout the colorado river and throughout the last two decades two.for millions and that does not account for other native american tribes that have claims that have yet to be resolved so there's just a tremendous amount of demand and with climate change we
know the yield will only decline. so if you have a written statement for your answer i would appreciate that. 's over the next 30 years with climate change how do we take into account with the upper and lower basis and then reallocate that? that is a 64000-dollar question with the value and importance of security to everybody. it was so difficult to agree on 17 million which we know now is not there how do we agree among the native tribes on a reduced amount that will use all of those.
quite frequently with the upper basin and lower basin to quantify additional measures of conservation with the interim but also working on the 2026 guideline. it is a series of collaborative work together that tries to quantify and develop the areas you make those contribution investment. >> can we use all of those water tools in the toolbox and then and then the law of the river contract on a percentage basis reduce it by that factor to whatever we determine the yield to be quick. >> that challenge is the long-term water rights. that is a challenge it is a
collaborative process to get through that and i will say that one thing i have no disrespect and i take your comments to heart the food that we eat it comes with water and food equals water and we are all a part of the process in the food production cycle. >> thank you mr. chairman. >> it's a great question you ended with and if any witness once to provide supplemental answers we would be happy to see it. any other colleagues that want to jump in with questions?
i don't want to overlook anyone. so at this point we will bring the first day of the colorado river basin hearing to a close. thank you to the witnesses on the second panel and all the members for the great questions members of the committee may have additional questions for the witnesses and we will ask you to respond to those in writing under committee rule 30 they must submit those within three business days. after the hearing the record will be held open for ten business days 2020.
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