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Heinrich, Stansbury Water Security, Drought Package Gains Momentum During Key Committee Hearing

WASHINGTON – Legislation introduced by U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) to address drought and water security in New Mexico and across the United States is gaining momentum after it was considered during today’s hearing in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Water & Power Subcommittee. U.S. Representative Melanie Stansbury (D-N.M.) leads the legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives.

WATCH: Heinrich Works To Preserve Key Water Resources in Energy and Water Subcommittee Hearing [HD DOWNLOAD LINK HERE]

During the hearing, Senator Heinrich laid out that the Water Data and Security Act will:

  • Address immediate and long-term water security needs of the Rio Grande through an integrated water resource management plan, driven by a Federal working group tasked with improving collaboration across the Basin.
  • Increase access to the best science, the best data, and management tools for water monitoring and conservation through a national water data framework.
  • Provide a 10-year reauthorization to a critical program that invests in Pueblo irrigation infrastructure and repairs to canals along the Rio Grande, granting the program much more stability.

Senator Heinrich also expressed that “We know that the West is facing a historic 1200-year drought and the Rio Grande is projected to run dry across significant reaches this summer. It is vital that we use every resource and tool available to address water security.”

The Rio Grande stretches over 1900 miles from its headwaters in the Rocky Mountains to the Gulf of Mexico and is one of the West’s most iconic rivers. This river provides water to millions of people, hundreds of thousands of acres of irrigated land, dozens of Tribal nations, and countless ecosystems.

“As New Mexico is battling the largest wildfires in our state’s history and our communities are experiencing the worst drought in a millennium—we must act now to put tools and resources into the hands of our farmers and ranchers, acequia and irrigation district managers, Tribal communities, and cities and towns to address their water needs,” said Stansbury. “That is why it is so vital we pass meaningful drought and water legislation now, and why I am grateful to be partnering with Senators Heinrich and Lujan in championing this work in the Senate. Today’s hearing on our Water Data and Rio Grande Water Security Acts in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee highlighted why these bills are so important for our communities and the millions of people they will impact.”

The bipartisan, bicameral legislation is also cosponsored by U.S. Senator Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) and U.S. Representatives Teresa Leger Fernández (D-N.M.) and Yvette Herrell (D-N.M.).

The Water Data Act is supported by a diverse coalition of water experts and organizations, farmers, and communities across the United States, including New Mexico Farm & Livestock Bureau, National Groundwater Association, The Water Foundation, the Internet of Water Initiative, the New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources, We the People of Detroit, the Interstate Council on Water Policy, and Family Farm Alliance.

Witness testimony and an archived video of the full hearing is available here.