Federal Government Releases Proposal on Colorado River Cuts
The United States federal government has released its proposal to reduce Colorado River usage.
It includes two alternatives to prevent the river’s reservoirs from falling to critically low levels.
This follows years of debate between states that utilize its water, including California.
What’s in the Proposal?
The proposal includes two alternatives which include:
- Priority-based water resolution
- Evenly distributed cuts
A priority-based water resolution would benefit agricultural regions in California and surrounding states that provide food year-round. On the other hand, it’s plausible it would massively decrease the water allocation to cities such as Los Angeles and Phoenix.
The other option would be to distribute the 2 million acre-feet of water cuts evenly among the states that use them. However, this would likely hurt agricultural regions that depend on the water.
In addition, it would spark a similar debate that has been had for over a year on the percentage of cuts that each state should have to make. The long legal history of the Colorado River and the water rights to each state also make this a complicated option.
In the State of Colorado’s response to the federal government’s proposal, they stated their understanding that it only came due to the lack of agreement between the seven basin states.
However, they put the responsibility on California and Arizona to agree on cuts made to water usage.
Senator Michael Bennett, a Democrat from Colorado, has also urged the two states to join the others in a proposal, stating “This year’s snowpack can’t be an excuse to kick the can down the road.”
With pressure from Washington D.C. to get a deal done, a resolution is expected to come sooner than later.
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