The climate change and health care bill nearing final approval in Congress includes $4 billion to rent, buy or save water that could go a long way to help restore the beleaguered Colorado River Basin amid a historic megadrought, Senate supporters and water advocates say.
The money can be used by states and local agencies to temporarily buy farmers’ water rights, fund permanent conservation programs like city lawn buy-ups, or negotiate with tribes to keep their water rights in the basin, said Colorado Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet, who with two other Western senators negotiated to keep the $4 billion alive.
“The West has not been this dry in 1,200 years, the Colorado River is in crisis as a result, and we don’t have a plan and we need to develop one,” Bennet said in an…
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