Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

World

Proposed deal reached with states to protect Colorado River

Three states that make up the Lower Basin have agreed to cut back on water use in exchange for about $1.2 billion in federal funds.

Horseshoe Bend Arizona. Horseshoe Bend is the name for a horseshoe-shaped meander of the Colorado River located near the town of Page, Arizona, slightly downstream from the Glen Canyon Dam. Credit - Svein-Magne Tunli. CC SA 3.0.
Horseshoe Bend Arizona. Horseshoe Bend is the name for a horseshoe-shaped meander of the Colorado River located near the town of Page, Arizona, slightly downstream from the Glen Canyon Dam. Credit - Svein-Magne Tunli. CC SA 3.0.

Three states that make up the Lower Basin have agreed to cut back on water use in exchange for about $1.2 billion in federal funds.

Arizona, Nevada, and California said Monday they’re willing to voluntarily conserve 3 million acre-feet of water over the next three years – amounting to 13 percent of these states’ total allocation from the Colorado River.

The New York Times is reporting that the Biden administration has committed to compensating the states for three-quarters of the water savings — or 2.3 million acre-feet — which would amount to about $1.2 billion in federal funds.

The water reduction will be the most aggressive ever experienced in the region to stave off a crisis – even though it is less than half of what federal officials said was needed last year.

The money from the Inflation Reduction Act would pay farmers, Native American tribes, cities, and others who voluntarily forgo their supplies.

“There are 40 million people, seven states, and 30 Tribal Nations who rely on the Colorado River Basin for basic services such as drinking water and electricity,” Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said in a statement Monday, according to the Washington Post.

Horseshoe Bend of the Colorado River in Arizona on Fedruary 13, 2023. Source – Charles Wang, CC SA 4.0.

“Today’s announcement is a testament to the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to working with states, Tribes, and communities throughout the West to find consensus solutions in the face of climate change and sustained drought.”

Though adoption of the plan isn’t certain, the Associated Press reports that U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Camille Touton called it an “important step forward.”

She said the bureau will pull back its proposal from last month that could have resulted in sidestepping the existing water priority system to force cuts while it analyzes the three-state plan. The bureau’s earlier proposal, if adopted, could have led to a messy legal battle.

The plan doesn’t change how much water the Upper Basin states of Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, or Wyoming will receive. Becky Mitchell, director of the Colorado Water Conservation Board, said that Upper Basin states didn’t have a chance to analyze the Lower Basin’s plan in detail.

“The wet winter has given us a bit of space to negotiate, but we must not squander this gift from Mother Nature,” Mitchell said. She said Colorado and other basin states urged federal officials to return to longer-term discussions about how to preserve water levels at Lakes Mead and Powell beyond 2026.

The 1,450-mile (2,334-kilometer) river provides water to 40 million people in seven U.S. states, parts of Mexico, and more than two dozen Native American tribes. It produces hydropower and supplies water to farms that grow most of the nation’s winter vegetables.

Avatar photo
Written By

We are deeply saddened to announce the passing of our dear friend Karen Graham, who served as Editor-at-Large at Digital Journal. She was 78 years old. Karen's view of what is happening in our world was colored by her love of history and how the past influences events taking place today. Her belief in humankind's part in the care of the planet and our environment has led her to focus on the need for action in dealing with climate change. It was said by Geoffrey C. Ward, "Journalism is merely history's first draft." Everyone who writes about what is happening today is indeed, writing a small part of our history.

You may also like:

Tech & Science

Leave it alone. Study, sure, and help people with problems, but don’t turn it into a day job.

Tech & Science

For a few days, AI chip juggernaut Nvidia sat on the throne as the world's biggest company,.

Business

In March, prices rocketed to more than $10,000 a tonne in New York after a poor harvest in West Africa.

Business

South Africa currently produces around 60,000 tonnes of game meat a year - Copyright AFP MARCO LONGARIUmberto BACCHICarcasses of impala, kudu and wildebeest hang...