WASHINGTON, D.C. — The formation of the bipartisan Congressional Colorado River Caucus is a much-needed step in addressing decades of drought and depleting water supply of the Colorado River. As lawmakers strategize solutions it’s imperative they engage in the principles of free, prior and informed consent from Colorado River Basin Tribes and Indigenous organizations in key decision-making and management discussions.
“Decades of drought continue to threaten water supply for millions of people that rely on the Colorado River. Seeing lawmakers from both sides of the aisle come together to tackle this challenge is an acknowledgment of the emergency we face,” said Garrit Voggesser, director of the National Wildlife Federation Tribal Partnerships Program. “This is a very real and urgent problem that requires collaborative partnership with Tribes and Indigenous organizations in the region. Colorado River Basin Tribes have recognized rights to use 3.2 million-acre feet of Colorado River system and an immeasurable amount of knowledge and expertise to bring to the table.”
Organizations like the Ten Tribes Partnership and Water and Tribes Initiative have been advocating for Tribal water rights and to increase the influence of Tribes in Colorado River management and protection, and use of tribal water resources.
The Colorado River flows for approximately 1,450 miles and provides water to seven states in the Western U.S. that are part of the Colorado River Basin. Divided into two regions; the Upper Basin includes Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming; and the Lower Basin includes Arizona, California, and Nevada.
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