US Sen. Mark Kelly says other Western states need to pitch in like Arizona as drought persists

Aug 22, 2022, 11:13 AM | Updated: 11:22 am
Water flows down the Colorado River downriver from Hoover Dam in northwest Arizona, Sunday, Aug. 14...

Water flows down the Colorado River downriver from Hoover Dam in northwest Arizona, Sunday, Aug. 14, 2022, near the Lake Mead National Recreation Area. (AP Photo/John Locher)

(AP Photo/John Locher)

PHOENIX – Arizona has done more than its share to address the megadrought in the West, and now it’s time for other states “to step up,” U.S. Sen. Mark Kelly said Sunday.

“We have to solve this problem and it’s so important that the other states step up and do something about it. It just can’t be on the state of Arizona,” Kelly told CNN’s “State of the Union.”

For the second year in a row, Arizona and Nevada will face cuts in the amount of water they can draw from the Colorado River as the West endures more drought, federal officials announced last Tuesday.

Under the latest reductions, Arizona will lose an additional 80,000 acre-feet of water — 21% less than its total share and 3% less than what it’s receiving this year.

An acre-foot is equivalent to an acre of land covered by 12 inches of water. An average household uses one-half to one acre-foot of water a year.

“Arizona is so important to the country,” Kelly, a Democrat running for reelection in the fall, said. “If you’re eating green lettuce in the winter, it came from Yuma County.

“It’s also about food security for our entire nation. If Yuma County doesn’t have the water it needs to grow produce, then that means those products are going to be more expensive across the entire country.”

Though the cuts will not result in any immediate new restrictions — such as banning lawn watering or car washing — they signal that unpopular decisions about how to reduce consumption are on the horizon, including whether to prioritize growing cities or agricultural areas.

“Right now, we have some of the tools necessary to deal with it. I’m trying to get some answers from the Department of Interior on more, like, what authority do they have to make some decisions themselves on this?

“Because, as I said earlier, the other states are not stepping up to help Arizona deal with this,” Kelly said.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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US Sen. Mark Kelly says other Western states need to pitch in like Arizona as drought persists