TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — The City of Tucson and Gila River Indian Community (GRIC) are working together to save Colorado River water.
GRIC Governor Stephen Roe Lewis and Mayor Regina Romero announced this joint effort Friday afternoon.
"This historic joint effort is meant to make an immediate and tangible difference at a pivotal moment in this crisis," said Gov. Lewis. "We know time is running out to avoid the declaration of a Drought Contingency Plan Tier 2b Shortage for 2023. Declaration of a shortage that severe would result in massive impacts to the City’s M&I water supply and to the Community’s Indian Priority water supplies. We cannot allow that to happen."
Mayor Romero is welcoming other Colorado River stakeholders to join this movement.
"We know that our efforts, alone, cannot accomplish the goal of avoiding additional and imminent shortage declarations," shared Mayor Romero. "We need help from the Arizona water community, which already has made significant commitments to relieve this crisis. We also need help from California water users and the federal government to facilitate and fund these efforts. We have already reached out to neighboring jurisdictions in Arizona and we’re encouraged by their willingness to bring even more resources to bear on this issue."
Gov. Lewis and Mayor Romero point out saving water will require federal aid, saying this help should come in the form of legal expertise, policy direction and financial resources.
"[T]his is exactly what we need at this critical time. I want to commend the Community for stepping up, and I am sure others will too." Mayor Romero said. "But we, in Arizona, cannot do this on our own, which is why Governor Lewis and I are both urging major water users in California to contribute water supplies as well. We welcome any support from the federal government in coordinating this effort."
Both also thanked the U.S. Department of the Interior and Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, as well as members of the Arizona Congressional delegation for their leadership on water issues.
"We have an obligation not just to our residents, but to future generations – to act now and to act boldly," Mayor Romero added.
These leaders plan to allocate high-priority Central Arizona Project water and other long-term water supplies to prevent further water shortages.
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