Arizona, other Southwest States Agree on New Colorado River Water Plan

Article originally posted on Phoenix Business Journal on May 23, 2023
Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Mojave Desert

Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Mojave Desert

Arizona and six other Southwest states that rely on water from the Colorado River have agreed to a new usage proposal, the Biden administration announced Monday.

Arizona, Colorado, California, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming have submitted the plan to the Bureau of Reclamation for analysis.

The three Lower Basin states – Arizona, Nevada and California – reached an agreement to conserve an additional 3 million acre-feet of Colorado River water by the end of 2026, with half of the savings made by the end of 2024.

In exchange for temporarily using less water, cities, irrigation districts and Native American tribes in the three states will receive federal funding, though officials did not say how much funding individual users in the states would get.

“The Lower Basin Plan is the product of months of tireless work by our water managers to develop an agreement that stabilizes the Colorado River system through 2026,” Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs said in a separate statement. “Thanks to the partnership of our fellow Basin States and historic investments in drought funding, we now have a path forward to build our reservoirs back up in the near-term. From here, our work must continue to take action and address the long-term issues of climate change and overallocation to ensure we have a sustainable Colorado River for all who rely upon it.”


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