Sen. Mark Kelly on possible Colorado River crash: ‘It’s not going to happen’

Mar 13, 2023, 4:35 AM | Updated: 7:49 am

PHOENIX — U.S. Sen. Mark Kelly said Friday he will not let the Colorado River crash amid water shortages.

In an exclusive interview with KTAR News 92.3 FM, Kelly said the nation can’t allow the water levels in Lake Mead to get to a level where water cannot be released from the Hoover Dam.

“Because if that happens, we don’t get water in California and in Arizona and Mexico. It’s not going to happen,” Kelly said.

Kelly explains the west now has the tools to do the needed water resiliency projects after securing about $4 billion from the Inflation Reduction Act and another $8 billion from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill.

“Like drip irrigation, building more water storage, settling tribal water claims,” Kelly said.

“If we do all these things and were starting to line them up, we’re going to be able to conserve and leave enough water up in Lake Mead that we’re not going to have to worry about the flow of water to the lower basin states.”

To continue advancing forward water conservation and resiliency, water needs to be included in more legislation like the upcoming Farm Bill.

“I’ve had conversations with my colleagues already that the Farm Bill cannot just be about farming in the Midwest, that it needs to be about agriculture in the Southwest as well,” Kelly said.

Kelly stressed that the Southwest must be included in the bill since 90% of the nation’s leafy greens come from Yuma County during the fall and spring.

“This is important for our food supply. So, we’re going to look at opportunities in the Farm Bill to make sure we secure our water future here in the west,” Kelly said.

At a roundtable earlier Friday, Kelly joined the Central Arizona Project in calling on the federal government to quickly release $250 million in funding he secured in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to go toward water infrastructure projects in Arizona.

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Sen. Mark Kelly on possible Colorado River crash: ‘It’s not going to happen’