River Groups Applaud Benefits of New Colorado River Basin Report

May 15, 2015

Collaborative Moving Forward Report Addressing Future Colorado River Basin Water Supply and Demand Challenges This week, American Rivers and American Whitewater applauded the Bureau of Reclamation’s new report, “Moving Forward.”

The report outlines achievable, common sense solutions that will help protect the 1,450-mile Colorado River for outdoor recreation, wildlife, and water supply for people and agriculture for generations to come.

The current drought makes prioritizing, funding, and implementing the solutions in the report even more urgent. American Rivers and American Whitewater called on the Bureau and Colorado River water users to expand their current efforts to preserve the health of the river and basin communities.

Key Elements of the Colorado River Basin Report

American Rivers and American Whitewater support the key elements of the Colorado River Basin report, Moving Forward, including:

  • A recognition of the need to expand water conservation, efficiency and reuse programs
  • The imperative to increase local, state, and federal commitments to funding and implementing conservation efforts
  • The pressing need to expand the use of innovative water management technologies, stewardship practices, and incentives for agriculture and urban areas to save water.

Support for “Moving Forward” to Protect the Colorado River

Spanning seven states, the Colorado River is the lifeblood of the American West, providing drinking water for 36 million people, irrigating fifteen percent of the nation’s crops, and generating a $26 billion recreation and tourism economy that provides 234,000 jobs. Yet a water supply and demand gap exists due to a history of unsustainable water consumption and the effects of a 14-year drought that is dramatically lowering supply. There is also increasing pressure to meet the needs of expected growth in communities that depend on the river.

“The need for real action has never been more obvious. The Bureau of Reclamation’s “Moving Forward” report offers realistic, actionable solutions to protect the Colorado River. But it is time to stop talking and instead start funding and implementing these solutions,” said Matt Rice, director of Colorado Basin Programs for American Rivers.

“We have an array of examples from successful conservation efforts, and a further, recent example from California’s strong drought response, that significant, proactive steps are possible. Government, communities, agriculture and individuals all have a role to play in advancing innovative solutions that increase water efficiency. It’s time to start reversing the imbalance between water supply and demand so that we can sustain rural and urban economies while restoring a healthy Colorado River.”

“Leaders across the West from communities, business and government can come together to apply these solutions immediately to protect the Colorado River basin from historic drought which is endangering the Western way of life,” said Nathan Fey, Colorado Stewardship Director for American Whitewater. “We are truly all in this together. We know what to do, now it’s time to do it.”

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