River Organizations Applaud Colorado River Basin Benefits Detailed in New Government Report

May 14, 2015

May 14, 2015


(Denver, CO) – American Rivers and American Whitewater today applauded the Bureau of Reclamation’s new report, “Moving Forward.” The report outlines achievable, common sense solutions that will help protect the 1,450-mile Colorado River for outdoor recreation, wildlife, and water supply for people and agriculture for generations to come.

The current drought makes prioritizing, funding, and implementing the solutions in the report even more urgent. American Rivers and American Whitewater called on the Bureau and Colorado River water users to expand their current efforts to preserve the health of the river and basin communities.

American Rivers and American Whitewater support the key elements of the report including:

  • A recognition of the need to expand water conservation, efficiency and reuse programs
  • The imperative to increase local, state, and federal commitments to funding and implementing conservation efforts
  • The pressing need to expand the use of innovative water management technologies, stewardship practices, and incentives for agriculture and urban areas to save water.

Spanning seven states, the Colorado River is the lifeblood of the American West, providing drinking water for 36 million people, irrigating fifteen percent of the nation’s crops, and generating a $26 billion recreation and tourism economy that provides 234,000 jobs. Yet a water supply and demand gap exists due to a history of unsustainable water consumption and the effects of a 14-year drought that is dramatically lowering supply.  There is also increasing pressure to meet the needs of expected growth in communities that depend on the river.

“The need for real action has never been more obvious. The Bureau of Reclamation’s “Moving Forward” report offers realistic, actionable solutions to protect the Colorado River. But it is time to stop talking and instead start funding and implementing these solutions,” said Matt Rice, director of Colorado Basin Programs for American Rivers.

“We have an array of examples from successful conservation efforts, and a further, recent example from California’s strong drought response, that significant, proactive steps are possible. Government, communities, agriculture and individuals all have a role to play in advancing innovative solutions that increase water efficiency. It’s time to start reversing the imbalance between water supply and demand so that we can sustain rural and urban economies while restoring a healthy Colorado River.”

“Leaders across the West from communities, business and government can come together to apply these solutions immediately to protect the Colorado River basin from historic drought which is endangering the Western way of life,” said Nathan Fey, Colorado Stewardship Director for American Whitewater. “We are truly all in this together. We know what to do, now it’s time to do it.”

About American Whitewater

Founded in 1954, American Whitewater is a national non-profit organization (Non-profit # 23-7083760) with a mission “to conserve and restore America’s whitewater resources and to enhance opportunities to enjoy them safely.” American Whitewater is a membership organization representing a broad diversity of individual whitewater enthusiasts, river conservationists, and more than 100 local paddling club affiliates across America. The organization is the primary advocate for the preservation and protection of whitewater rivers throughout the United States, and connects the interests of human-powered recreational river users with ecological and science-based data to achieve the goals within its mission.

About American Rivers

American Rivers protects wild rivers, restores damaged rivers, and conserves clean water for people and nature. Since 1973, American Rivers has protected and restored more than 150,000 miles of rivers through advocacy efforts, on-the-ground projects, and an annual America’s Most Endangered Rivers® campaign. Headquartered in Washington, DC, American Rivers has offices across the country and more than 250,000 members, supporters, and volunteers.

Rivers connect us to each other, nature, and future generations. Find your connections at AmericanRivers.org, Facebook.com/AmericanRivers, and Twitter.com/AmericanRivers.