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Romney, Colleagues Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Extend Colorado River Conservation Program

Program supports Colorado River water users as they explore innovative strategies to manage a drier future

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senators Mitt Romney (R-UT), John Hickenlooper (D-CO), John Barrasso (R-WY), Michael Bennet (D-CO), and Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) today introduced the Colorado River Basin System Conservation Extension Act, bipartisan legislation to extend the System Conservation Pilot Program, which was created to test voluntary water conservation measures to manage severe drought in the Colorado River Basin.

“Over the last several years, the System Conservation Pilot Program has proven successful in increasing water efficiency and mitigating the impacts of historic drought,” said Senator Romney. “Reauthorizing this important program will encourage water conservation in Lake Powell and other bodies of water in the Upper Colorado River Basin.”

“We need to work together to address the Colorado River crisis, and conservation is one part of the puzzle,” said Senator Hickenlooper. “Let’s finish the pilot program and figure out what works best for Colorado’s communities and our farmers.”

“Wyoming, along with other Colorado River Basin states, have worked together to conserve water in the Colorado River system. Programs like the System Conservation Pilot Project are critical to helping address drought issues across these states,” said Senator Barrasso. “Our bipartisan legislation extends this program and provides our farmers and ranchers with resources to conserve water in the Colorado River and the lakes they depend on.”

“As drought wreaks havoc on the Colorado River system, Colorado and Upper Basin states are doing their part and stepping up to conserve real water,” said Senator Bennet.

“The west continues to lead the nation in our cutting-edge water conservation and management practices,” said Senator Lummis. “Our ability to maintain that reputation hinges on preserving proven policies that mitigate drought threats, and I am excited to partner with my colleagues to protect Wyoming communities and ranchers from droughts by continuing this successful program.”

Background:

The Colorado River Basin System Conservation Extension Act extends the System Conservation Pilot Program through 2026 as Colorado River Basin states, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, and stakeholders continue discussions on potential long-term water management once operational rules expire in 2026. The pilot program will help the Upper Basin examine water management strategies that can help water users manage a drier, more uncertain water supply future.

Full text of the legislation is available here.