An Old Man Writes About A River

The biggest American political story of last week received almost no coverage. Being an Easterner I’m not sure I even have the right to write about it. I certainly lack much in expertise and experience. But an old man is going to write about a river anyway. The story is much, much bigger than just that body of water. In fact, water is the key word.

Last week the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, part of the Interior Department, announced the need for significant rationing of water in seven states fed by the Colorado River along with Mexico. The drastic action is necessary because water levels have fallen dangerously and dramatically. The immediate cause is a decades’ long drought caused, at least in large part, by climate change. This is exacerbated by the population shift and growth experienced in the region (primarily in the Phoenix area of Arizona).

The water rationing will adversely effect agriculture, as well as what us city slickers consider normal living (i.e. drinking water, cooking, showers, etc.). Much of the region’s electricity is hydro electricity generated by dams. No water equals no electric. You can take it from there.

Having spent a large portion of my life in Western New York I know the benefits of hydro electricity. One of the main ones is that no pollution is generated in the process thereby not contributing to the initial problem (in this case) of climate change.

Like most progressives I find Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema to be more than just an occasional pain in the posterior. The negotiations that led to the Inflation Reduction Act is just one of many examples. However, she did accomplish one good thing in the final tweaks she demanded. She made sure the bill included $4 billion toward drought relief funding. $4 billion is probably inadequate but it sure beats zero.

In addition to Mexico – color me old fashioned but I believe foreign relations are important especially with next door neighbors – the states of Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming are affected.

I may not live in the region but I live in the same country. Their problem is my problem and that of all Americans and it’s not going away or solving itself.

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