U.S. Sen. Tom Udall says water scarcity is one of the most important challenges facing the West.
The New Mexico Democrat spoke Thursday at a conference in Albuquerque that explored ways to address future demands on limited supplies. Scientists and water managers from around the country attended.
Udall pointed to the Rio Grande, which cuts through the middle of Albuquerque. He says the river's flow is one-sixth of what it used to be, and it's now known as the Rio Sand in southern New Mexico.
New Mexico is in its third year of extreme drought. Stretches of the Rio Grande and Pecos River continue to dry and many reservoirs are at all-time lows.
Udall says he's pushing legislation that would establish a new water acquisition program on the Rio Grande.
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