U.S. Interior Assistant Secretary Tanya Trujillo Travels Across Colorado to Hear Directly From Water Users, Scientists About Drought Effects
WASHINGTON — During a multi-day tour across Colorado last week, Secretary of the Interior Deb
WASHINGTON — Department of the Interior Assistant Secretary of Water and Science Tanya Trujillo today completed a week-long tour of listening sessions, field visits and meetings with Colorado water managers, interagency partners, and stakeholders across the state. Assistant Secretary Trujillo toured key sites and water projects to discuss drought and other water challenges across the Upper Colorado Basin.
Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland was also in Colorado last week and held a roundtable in Denver to discuss worsening drought conditions and highlight the Department’s efforts to support farmers, Tribes and communities impacted by ongoing water shortages. She was joined by Governor Jared Polis, Rep. Diana DeGette, Assistant Secretary Trujillo and other local, state and federal leaders.
“I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to hear directly from those on the frontlines of drought-impacts and discuss how we can best work together to develop additional mitigation strategies to respond to increased risk of drought and changes to precipitation, runoff and temperatures,” said Assistant Secretary Trujillo. “Our shared priority is to support efforts to build resilient communities and protect our water supplies for people and the natural environment.”
During her visit, Assistant Secretary Trujillo toured the future startup site of the Vinelands Power Plant in Palisade. The new adjacent plant is scheduled to replace the aging Grand Valley Power Plant where critical work was required to address concerns about aging infrastructure and safety. She also met with representatives from the Grand Valley Water Users Association and Orchard Mesa Irrigation District to discuss the local impacts of the historic drought in the state.
In northern Colorado, Assistant Secretary Trujillo met with members of the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District to discuss their role on the Colorado-Big Thompson Project, the historic wildfires in 2020 and drought-related issues on both sides of the Continental Divide. She had a firsthand view of how close the 2020 Cameron Peak fire came to the C-BT reservoirs and city of Fort Collins.
Later in the week, she met with the Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District to discuss the construction of the Arkansas Valley Conduit where groundwater sources are currently contaminated with radionuclides. Upon completion, the project will provide a safe, long-term water supply to an estimated future population of 50,000 people in 40 rural communities along the Arkansas River. These communities increasingly face expensive alternative remedies such as reverse osmosis, ion exchange, filtration and bottled water. A reliable source of clean, safe water is needed for the area’s health and welfare and where the Bureau of Reclamation will help communities comply with Environmental Protection Agency drinking water regulations.
Assistant Secretary Trujillo also met with representatives from U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to tour Loch Vale in Rocky Mountain National Park. Loch Vale is a USGS global change monitoring and study site to track the long-term changes we are seeing in our environment. Today, she toured the 2020 Cal-Wood fire burn area where USGS is monitoring potential landslide. Flooding and debris flow activity together with local partners.
About the U.S. Department of the Interior
The Department of the Interior (DOI) conserves and manages the Nation’s natural resources and cultural heritage for the benefit and enjoyment of the American people, provides scientific and other information about natural resources and natural hazards to address societal challenges and create opportunities for the American people, and honors the Nation’s trust responsibilities or special commitments to American Indians, Alaska Natives, and affiliated island communities to help them prosper.