As N.M. Continues To Deal With Historic Drought And Wildfires, Heinrich Pushes Water Security Priorities During Key Hearing

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, participated in a full committee hearing to examine short- and long-term solutions to extreme drought in the western United States. During the hearing, Senator Heinrich pressed water officials on their current approach to this crisis and emphasized the importance of bolstering water security as New Mexico and the region experiences historic drought and wildfires. 

WATCH: Heinrich Discusses Aridification With Water Officials, Experts, Shares Concerns [HD DOWNLOAD LINK HERE] 

Senator Heinrich expressed that this crisis “is not some random event. It is frankly a direct result of the lack of action on climate that we have seen for more than twenty years.” Legislation introduced by Senator Heinrich to address drought and water security in New Mexico and across the United States was recently considered during a 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.

Senator Heinrich asked panel witness and Vice President of the Climate Resilient Water System Dr. Maurice Hall about the path forward if aridification becomes the new normal. Dr. Hall emphasized the importance of collaboration, replying “you can work together in an organized way to come up with programs, and then figure out how to make them work with the different, various regulations.” In response to the impacts and changes of the climate crisis, Dr. Hall continued, saying that it is critical to “increase our real time and near-real time monitoring and information processing, and be prepared to make adjustments as we discover how the new climate processes are affecting our water resources.”

Senator Heinrich and Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Camille Touton also discussed the need to have both short- and long-term strategies to mitigate the impacts of the aridification of the Rio Grande Basin. 

Witness testimony and an archived video of the full hearing can be found here.