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Water Issues are Focus of "Colorado River Day" Event

PHOTO: Friday is Colorado River Day, when Arizona and other states in the region focus on addressing the ongoing water challenges they face. Photo courtesy U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.
PHOTO: Friday is Colorado River Day, when Arizona and other states in the region focus on addressing the ongoing water challenges they face. Photo courtesy U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.
July 25, 2014

PHOENIX - Ensuring that future generations of Arizonans have enough water is the focus of a panel discussion in Flagstaff as part of "Colorado River Day" today.

The Colorado River has endured more than a decade of drought, leaving water levels in its two primary reservoirs, Lake Mead and Lake Powell, at historic lows.

"Not only do we have interest from the public but we're having Coconino County Supervisor Liz Archuleta moderate the panel," said Nicole Gonzalez Patterson, Arizona director of the nonprofit group Nuestro Rio, which organized today's event. "We're having Clint Chandler from Sen. (Jeff) Flake's office provide us the federal level perspective on Colorado River issues facing Arizona."

Gonzalez Patterson said water directors from the Navajo Nation and Hopi Tribe also will be part of the panel discussion. They'll cover the water conservation issues facing tribal nations in Arizona and their plans to meet the challenges.

Colorado River Day marks the 93rd anniversary of the date the Grand River was officially renamed the Colorado. Gonzalez Patterson said another goal of the day is to remind people how vital the river is to the area.

"We need to make sure that we're conserving the river, to make sure that it's around for future generations and recreation economy that it supports," she said. "The river is hugely important to Arizona's economy."

The Colorado River supports human life, wildlife, agriculture and recreation in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming. Today's event starts at 7:30 a.m. at the High Country Conference Center, 201 W. Butler Ave., Flagstaff.

Troy Wilde, Public News Service - AZ