During a U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources hearing, U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) discussed the impact drought conditions have across New Mexico and ways to tackle water supply needs in the state. The committee received testimony on the status of drought conditions throughout the western United States and actions states and others are taking to address them.
During the hearing, Senator Heinrich asked Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior Mike Connor how the lessons learned from the Colorado River Basin Study, conducted by the Bureau of Reclamation, could be used to evaluate New Mexico’s proposed Gila River diversion project as well as alternatives to use existing water supplies more efficiently.
Senator Heinrich also highlighted how water leasing from the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority helps maintain flows and support local fish populations in the Rio Grande. He asked how expanding water leasing programs can better meet water needs across western states.