Latino Support Vital To Preserve Colorado River
Though its name might be a little misleading, the Colorado River flows through seven states, running over 1,400 miles through the U.S. Southwest before emptying out into the Gulf of California. According to Nuestro Rio, the river provides drinking water for millions of people, irrigates 15% of the nation’s crops, and feeds 13% of the nation’s livestock.
Considered to be a lifeline for many in the states of Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming, the river has been affected in recent years by continuous drought, development and climate change. Half of the water now in reservoirs has been used up, threatening to disrupt the lives and livelihoods of those who depend on the river’s supply.
Nuestro Rio, a network of Latinos focused on preserving the Colorado River, began a campaign to raise awareness about its supply and demand problem, and is urging people in the Southwest to contact elected officials and take action to help preserve the river. In late November, the Department of Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation announced that it would be taking suggestions from the general public regarding how to address the problem of the shortage of water in the Colorado River.
According to a recent press release from Nuestro Rio, the Bureau of Reclamation aims to:
[C]ollect and analyze proposals for tactics to deal with the supply and demand challenge on the river. Any individual or organization can submit a proposal by January 13th. These proposals will inform the broader strategy to deal with this challenge that will ultimately recommended by the study, scheduled to conclude in July of 2012.
Acting in the interests of those that depend on the water supply, Nuestro Rio will be urging decision makers to to take steps to support such priorities as:
- More Jobs. Policy changes should protect and promote jobs in the recreation and tourism industry, which is a pillar of the Western economy.
- Common Sense. There is no money or political will available for multi-billion dollar pipe dreams. New policy must focus on common sense solutions.
- A Better Way of Life. Fishing, boating, hiking and other recreational opportunities keep people coming West, and the solutions produced by the Basin Study need to support this economic and cultural advantage.