Titus, Horsford to President, Support Colorado River Drought Response in Budget

Feb 20, 2014
Press Release
Send Letter Urging Federal Resources to Match Local Efforts

February 20, 2014 

Las Vegas, NV – In response to the severe drought conditions impacting communities along the Colorado River Basin, Nevada Congresswoman Dina Titus and Congressman Steven Horsford sent a letter to President Barack Obama in advance of the Fiscal Year Budget Request urging the President to include funding to assist communities in their efforts to conserve waters in the Basin. For more than 13 years, the Colorado River Basin has experienced severe drought conditions not seen in more than 1,000 years, impacting communities and commerce in Basin States. In response to the ongoing drought, water districts in Nevada, Arizona, California, and Colorado have pledged to invest in a program to conserve waters through voluntary mitigation and conservation initiatives. 
 
“The Colorado River supplies water to more than forty million residents, as well as agricultural interests, and generates electricity for cities throughout the West,” said Congresswoman Titus. “For Southern Nevada, the River is our lifeline, providing clean electricity and 90% of our drinking water. Given the River’s importance to the nation, it is essential that the Federal Government partner with us at the local level to conserve this vital resource. We cannot afford any delay.”
 
"Millions of people who rely on the Colorado River for water have been negatively affected by the historic droughts of the past decade,” Horsford said. “We urge President Obama to take action to help Nevada and the country by investing in water conservation technologies in his FY2015 budget. The future of the Colorado River Water Basin depends on action we take now.”
 
The Fiscal Year 2015 Budget Request from President Obama is scheduled to be sent to Congress on March 4. 
 
 
TEXT OF THE LETTER:
 
                                                            February 20, 2013
 
The Honorable Barack Obama
President of the United States of America
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20500
 
 
Dear President Obama,
 
As Representatives of the Colorado River Water Basin, we are deeply concerned about the severe and sustained drought conditions that are threatening the ecology and economy of our region.  Water districts from Denver to Los Angeles are coming together and investing in conservation programs to combat drought conditions and ensure both clean water availability and continued energy generation to millions. As you prepare your Budget Request for Fiscal Year 2015, we urge you to include funding to assist these communities in their efforts to conserve waters in the Basin.   
 
Forty million Americans depend on the Colorado River for water, and those numbers could double in the next 40 years. Severe drought conditions, unrivaled in more than a millennia, have impacted our region for over 13 years, causing significant water level reductions and decreased flows into Lake Powell, the main reservoir and major energy supplier for the Upper Colorado River states, and Lake Mead which is the main source of water for Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and Phoenix. The Bureau of Reclamation has announced that, for the first time ever, flows into Lake Mead will be reduced in 2014. Continued threats to the water supply could lead to water rationing in the Lower Basin and other extreme responses to this crisis.
 
We ask that you demonstrate your commitment to the conservation initiatives being devised by the Nevada, Arizona, California, and Colorado water districts by including resources in your Budget Request to Congress for Fiscal Year 2015 to combat the situation in the Colorado River Basin. We stand ready to work with the Administration, our state and local governments, and water districts to protect this vital lifeline for generations to come.
 
We thank you for your attention to this request and for your continued support of the Colorado River Basin.
 
Sincerely,
                                                       
Dina Titus                                                                               Steven Horsford
Member of Congress                                                               Member of Congress