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May 26th, 2009
Subcommittee Chairman Grijalva to Participate in Tucson Congressional Field Hearing, May 27

Tucson, AZ—Congressman Raúl M. Grijalva, Chairman of the Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands will participate in the House Natural Resources Subcommittee for Water and Power Congressional Field Hearing on the water quality of the Lower Colorado River.

The hearing, “Water quality issues in the Lower Colorado River” will be Wednesday, May 27, 2009. The hearing will begin at 10:00 AM in the Pima County Board of Supervisors hearing room, 130 W. Congress.

The stretch of the River between Hoover Dam and the U.S.-Mexico border alone provides drinking water to 18 million people in California, Arizona, Nevada, and Mexico. Major metropolitan areas served by this stretch of the River include Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego, Phoenix, Tucson, and Tijuana, Mexico.

Demand for the water will skyrocket as the population of California and Arizona is projected to nearly double between 2000 and 2050. Development along the River itself will reflect these numbers, exacerbating already serious contamination issues resulting from large numbers of septic tanks leaking wastewater into groundwater adjacent to the River. This has forced small cities along the River into desperate financial straits as they attempt to implement costly remedies that they cannot possibly afford without significant aid.

“The Colorado River is the lifeblood of the Southwest,” said Grijalva. “It not only provides drinking water and irrigation, it has provided unrivaled recreation and natural landscapes, such as the Grand Canyon. Population growth, climate change, and an already over-allocated water supply and now the worriment of past industrial and mining activities will stress the River in ways never seen before. We need to come up with a better solution for The River, before it is too late.”

The witnesses scheduled to appear at the hearing are:

•Lorri Gray-Lee, Lower Colorado Regional Director, Bureau of Reclamation

•Alexis Strauss, Region 9 Water Division Director, Environmental Protection Agency

•Mark S. Nexsen, Mayor, Lake Havasu City, AZ

•Herb Guenther, Director, Arizona Department of Water Resources

•Eldred Enas, Tribal Council Chairman, Colorado River Indian Tribes

•Jonathan T. Overpeck, Director of the Institute for the Study of Planet Earth, University of Arizona

•Roger Patterson, Assistant General Manager, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California

•Ronald E. Zegers, Director, Southern Nevada Water Authority

•David Modeer, General Manager, Central Arizona Project

WHAT: Congressional Field Hearing on “Water quality issues in the Lower Colorado River”

WHEN: 10:00a.m., Wednesday, May 27, 2009

WHERE: Pima County Administration Building, Board of Supervisors Hearing Room, 130 W. Congress St., 1st Floor, Tucson.

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