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Walton Family Foundation on Western Water Agreement: “The Needs of Nature Are Not Separate From The Needs of People.”

May 22, 2023

Washington, D.C. - Colorado River Basin states today announced an agreement for historic cuts to their water use in response to decades of overuse and drought that have left the Colorado River and its reservoirs depleted.

Moira Mcdonald, director of the Walton Family Foundation’s Environment Program, issued the following statement in response:

"The announcement is a critical step forward to help make sure the Colorado River can continue to support the seven states, 30 Tribal Nations and 40 million people who depend on it.

By working with each other and with the federal government, Basin states are averting the immediate crisis facing the river. They have also provided an opportunity for us to pursue the kind of long-term cooperation that will be necessary if we want to secure a healthy Colorado River, not just for the next three years, but for decades - and generations - to come.  

While this agreement is an important victory, it is not a permanent solution. Any successful plan to keep the Colorado River healthy long-term has to recognize that the needs of nature are not separate from the needs of people. The path to real water security requires keeping enough water in the Colorado River for it to stay healthy and flowing. 

We can do this by investing in nature-based solutions – strategies that use the strengths of the natural environment to maximize water resources. A flowing river supports forests, floodplains and wetlands, which in turn makes the region more resilient to severe fires, droughts and floods. Taking care of nature in the Colorado River Basin is how we can support the well being of the communities, farmers, ranchers and others who rely on the river for their livelihoods. 

Working together, we can keep this vital resource sustainable for generations to come."

About the Walton Family Foundation

The Walton Family Foundation is, at its core, a family-led foundation. Three generations of the descendants of our founders, Sam and Helen Walton, and their spouses, work together to lead the foundation and create access to opportunity for people and communities. We work in three areas: improving education, protecting rivers and oceans and the communities they support, and investing in our home region of Northwest Arkansas and the Arkansas-Mississippi Delta. To learn more, visit and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.