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Stansbury urges the Senate to pass water legislation amid on-going drought in the West

Gino Gutierrez
Rep. Melanie Stansbury speaks about the importance of passing water legislation given the on-going drought conditions much of the Western United States is currently experiencing.

Representative Melanie Stansbury and several water officials met on the banks of the Rio Grande Wednesday morning to celebrate the House passage of three of her water security legislations and urge the Senate to get them over the finish line.

The three pieces of legislation Stansbury passed in the will help transform water management across the country and give communities the tools to address water security.

The first piece of legislation is the Water Data Act, which will create a Water Data Council to establish a framework for standardizing water data across federal agencies and make access easier for water managers and communities.

The second is the Rio Grande Water Security Act, which Stansbury called a “game-changer” in terms of bringing support to the communities of the Rio Grande River Basin.

It will create the resources and authorization needed to develop a plan to address the water security needs of the region. It will also reauthorize a vital lifeline to address the irrigation infrastructure needs of the Pueblo nations.

The third and final piece of water legislation is the WaterSMART Access for Tribes Act, which will give the U.S. Secretary of the Interior the power to waive or reduce cost-share requirements for Tribes under WaterSMART, a suite of programs under the Bureau of Reclamation to improve water security across the West.

This press conference came on the same day the federal government announced that Arizona, Nevada and Mexico would have to reduce their water consumption for the second straight year due to drought conditions.

The Rio Grande itself in Albuquerque dried up earlier this month due to the on-going drought in the Western United States.

Stansbury said while conditions have been grim, the individuals gathered Wednesday morning represented a bright future for the state’s water infrastructure.

Gino Gutierrez
The Rio Grande flowing through Albuquerque

“I know if we are going to build a more just, equitable and sustainable future for our communities, we have to take action at the federal, state and local level. And we need strong leadership at each level and the individuals who are standing here with me today, as well as those of you in the audience represent that leadership,” Stansbury said. “You represent the water leaders of our state who are helping us get through these challenging times even in the most adverse of conditions. Even as our state is facing a drought that is on the scale of more than a thousand years.”

Gino Gutierrez was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. A lifelong resident of New Mexico, Gino found interest in broadcasting after falling in love with sports and sports broadcasting. He attended the University of New Mexico, where he majored in mass media journalism. While at UNM, he worked the New Mexico Daily Lobo, serving as both sports and managing editor. He can also be heard providing play-by-play commentary for the Lobo Hockey Network.