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ICYMI: Hickenlooper Talks Bipartisan Collaboration to Address the Western Water Crisis with Washington Post Live

Mar 20, 2023

“The best solution will be the one that all seven states agree to.”

WASHINGTON – In case you missed it, U.S. Senator John Hickenlooper appeared at a Washington Post Live event with Leigh Ann Caldwell to discuss a bipartisan path forward on drought, water conservation, and preserving the Colorado River. 

Watch HERE, or see highlights below.

On leading the effort to convene a Senate caucus on Western Water

“If we don’t get a seven-state solution, it’s going to go to the Supreme Court quickly…and that takes time, huge cost, and great uncertainty. Part of the reason we’ve been trying to get all the Republican and Democratic senators from all seven basin states is not to take away the decision- making authority of our water professionals in each state, and the governors, and the general assemblies – we want to make sure that everyone is at the table thinking about this, and focusing, because we are out of time.”

On what Congress can do to speed negotiations

“The federal government has carrots and sticks. The senators, we’re facilitators…and the best solution will be the one that all seven states agree to – and that the water professionals, governors, and general assemblies agree to.”

On possible solutions

“This is a time when everything needs to be on the table…We’re all going to have to conserve water domestically even though that’s a relatively small amount of the water used. I think we have to look at the crops we grow. Rotational fallowing is something that people talk about a lot – where farmer’s will take a small part of their land and then rotate each year which small part they don’t water. It’s actually healthier for the soil to regenerate for a growing season.”

On sharing the burden to save the Colorado River

“Whether you’re in the Upper Basin or the Lower Basin, we’ve got to find a solution that everybody can live with or else we will continue to bicker…Whether you’re in a rural area or an urban area, if you’re in the Colorado river basin you’ve got something at risk, and you’ve got to be able to step up and say ‘okay, maybe I’m not going to get everything I want.’ But if we work at this and really hear each other clearly, we can find that common ground and find an alignment of self-interest to really reach a solution that satisfies all seven states.”


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