Politico

Mark Kelly: ‘So important that the other states step up’ in Southwest drought


The responsibility of mitigating a drought across the Southwest is on all states in the region, Arizona Sen. Mark Kelly said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

“We need the other upper- and lower-basin states to step up and do their part,” along with Arizona, the Democrat said to host Jake Tapper. “If they do that, we’re not going to have … a catastrophic collapse of the system. We will be able to stabilize it.”

Water levels on the Colorado River are so low that a formal shortage was declared last week, and there is concern that Lake Powell, a key reservoir along the Arizona-Utah border, could reach disastrous levels in 2023.

The state of the drought is currently “not existential,” Kelly said, highlighting provisions in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act for water resiliency and storage, as well as funds to address the drought in the Inflation Reduction Act.

However, he said the potential consequences of inaction could be seen across the country, because of farming in the region: “It’s also about food security for our entire nation,” Kelly said.

Kelly said in June: “Arizona’s done everything that Arizona has been asked … but we need partners and long-term commitments from the federal government.”

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