Padilla Applauds Colorado River Lower Basin States’ Conservation Proposal

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) issued the following statement after the Lower Basin and Upper Basin States released separate proposals for the Post-2026 Coordinated Operation of the Colorado River Basin:

“As we turn toward the long-term operating guidelines to address a historic megadrought and the urgent need to conserve water resources in the Colorado River Basin, the Upper and Lower Basin States must once again work together to reach consensus. Today, the Lower Basin States put forth an alternative that moves past temporary solutions and provides for sustainable management of the Colorado River System that meets the scale and urgency that the climate crisis demands. But reducing Colorado River water use is a shared obligation among all Basin States, and I urge all parties to put aside the rhetoric and do their part. I will continue to work with my colleagues in the region to facilitate true consensus and protect this precious resource for future generations.”

Earlier this week, the Bureau of Reclamation separately finalized the updates to the current short-term operating guidelines for the Colorado River. The historic, consensus-based plan will conserve at least 3 million acre-feet of water through 2026, half of which will come from California. In 2023, Colorado River water deliveries to California were the lowest they have been since 1949. 

In December, Senator Padilla applauded the Department of the Interior’s announcement of approximately $367 million to California partners to protect the Colorado River Basin, including nearly $295 million for several water conservation agreements with California water agencies. Padilla also worked to ensure that the Inflation Reduction Act included $4 billion for drought resiliency and inland waterways to specifically address the issues at the Salton Sea. He secured $250 million in IRA funding for public health and ecosystem projects at the Salton Sea, which enabled California to move forward on its water conservation efforts.  


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