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New Water Alliance Aims To Protect Water In The Colorado

Luke Runyon

Environmental leaders from the state gathered downtown last week to kick off an effort to conserve water in the Colorado River. 

It's called the Waterkeepers. And a big name in environmental law was here to help kick off the effort: Robert Kennedy Jr. Kennedy started the effort on the Hudson River in New York, and the Waterkeepers is now a global effort to protect specific waterways. 

“Over the course of the last 50 years, that organization has grown to be a worldwide organization encompassing hundreds of different branches and chapters throughout the world,” Nevada Public Radio's Heidi Kyser explained. Kyser attended the kickoff event. 

The group filed dozens of lawsuits to help clean up the Hudson River and they don't seem afraid to do the same thing for the Colorado River.

Clark County Commissioner-elect Tick Segerblom will be the local water defender. He will be looking for ways locally to better protect the river.

But Kyser said the group's aim is not just conservation of the water system. 

“The overarching goal of the Colorado River Keepers is to completely reconfigure the law of the river and undo some of the regulations that they see as harmful,” she said.

'The Law of the River' is the Colorado River Compact, which was signed in the 1920s and it is used to this day to set up how much water each state that uses the river will be allocated. 

However, critics of the compact say it is not only outdated but also based on faulty information. They argue that the river levels it uses to dole out water rights were some of the highest levels recorded compared with the current levels that are after years of drought in the West.

Kyser said the event seemed like an effort to get everyone in Southern Nevada's environmental community excited about their efforts and bring some star power to the cause in the form of Robert Kennedy Jr. 

Heidi Kyser, writer, Desert Companion Magazine 

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Desert Companion welcomed Heidi Kyser as staff writer in January 2014. In 2018, she was promoted to senior writer and producer, working for both DC and State of Nevada. She produced KNPR’s first podcast, the Edward R. Murrow Regional Award-winning Native Nevada, in 2020. The following year, she returned her focus full-time to Desert Companion, becoming Deputy Editor, which meant she was next in line to take over when longtime editor Andrew Kiraly left in July 2022.
Prior to taking on the role of Broadcast Operations Manager in January 2021, Rachel was the senior producer of KNPR's State of Nevada program for 6 years. She helped compile newscasts and provided coverage for and about the people of Southern Nevada, as well as major events such as the October 1 shooting on the Las Vegas strip, protests of racial injustice, elections and more. Rachel graduated with a bachelor's degree of journalism and mass communications from New Mexico State University.