AP

US official declares drought plan done for Colorado River

Mar 19, 2019, 5:35 PM
colorado river...
FILE - This May 31, 2018 file photo shows Hoover Dam that impounds Lake Mead on the Colorado River near Boulder City, Ariz. A plan to address a shrinking supply of water on a river that serves 40 million people in the U.S. West is headed to President Donald Trump. The U.S. House and Senate approved the Colorado River drought contingency plan on Monday, April 8, 2019. Seven western states spent years negotiating the drought plan. They aim to keep two key reservoirs from falling so low they cannot deliver water or produce hydropower. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — Seven states that rely on a major waterway in the U.S. West have finished a years-long effort to create a plan to protect the Colorado River amid a prolonged drought, the federal government declared Tuesday.

U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman commended Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming for reaching a consensus on the Colorado River drought contingency plan. Now the states are seeking approval from Congress to implement it.

“It is time for us to work with our congressional delegations to move forward to make sure we can implement DCP this year,” Burman said on a call with reporters.

The Colorado River serves 40 million people and 7,812 square miles (20,232 square kilometers) of farmland in the West. Under the drought plan, states voluntarily would give up water to keep Lake Mead on the Arizona-Nevada border and Lake Powell upstream on the Arizona-Utah border from crashing.

The push for federal legislation comes after the Colorado River Board of California voted Monday to move ahead without a water agency that has the largest entitlement to the river’s water.

The Imperial Irrigation District was written out of California’s plan when another powerful water agency, the Metropolitan Water District, pledged to contribute most of the state’s voluntary water cuts.

Imperial had said it would not commit to the drought plan unless it secured $200 million in federal funding to help restore a massive, briny lake southeast of Los Angeles known as the Salton Sea.

“IID has one agenda, to be part of a DCP that treats the Salton Sea with the dignity and due consideration it deserves, not as its first casualty,” Imperial board President Erik Ortega said.

The Bureau of Reclamation had given states until Tuesday to submit comments on what to do next after California and Arizona failed to meet federal deadlines to wrap up their drought plans.

Burman said she will cancel the request now that all states are on board. Arizona says it doesn’t expect its remaining work to delay implementation of the drought plan.

The states’ plans are meant to supplement existing guidelines that dictate water deliveries to Arizona, Nevada and California. The Bureau of Reclamation previously predicted a more than 50 percent chance that Arizona and Nevada would not get their full allocations of water in 2020.

The latest study shows a shortage might be averted because of above-average snowpack. In New Mexico, the basin that feeds the Rio Grande is about 135 percent above median levels.

But officials say one good year of snowpack won’t reduce long-term risks for the Rio Grande or the Colorado River.

The drought contingency plan takes the states through 2026, when existing guidelines expire. The states already are preparing for negotiations that will begin next year for new guidelines.

“We all recognize we’re looking at a drier future,” said Tom Buschatzke, director of the Arizona Department of Water Resources.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Today’s Top Stories

AP

In this undated photo released by Toyota Motor Corp., its bZ4X vehicle is shown during an online pr...
YURI KAGEYAMA AP Business Writer

Toyota recalls electric car for faulty wheel that may detach

The "bz" in the recalled model's name, as well as others in the works, stands for a "beyond zero" series, including sport-utility vehicles of all sizes, pickup trucks and sportscars, according to Toyota.
3 days ago
Committee Chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., gives opening remarks as the House select committ...
The Associated Press

Ginni Thomas responds to 1/6 panel, hearings stretch to July

The public hearings into the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol will stretch into July.
4 days ago
jan. 6 committee hearing...
ERIC TUCKER Associated Press

1/6 panel to hear of Trump’s pressure on Justice Department

The hearing Thursday is the fifth this month by the House committee investigating the run-up to the insurrection at the Capitol
4 days ago
The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday, June 15, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)...
MARK SHERMAN Associated Press

Justices rule religious schools must get Maine tuition aid

The most immediate effect of the court's ruling beyond Maine probably will be felt next door in Vermont, which has a similar program.
6 days ago
A video exhibit plays as the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the C...
FARNOUSH AMIRI and LISA MASCARO Associated Press

1/6 panel to hear from Raffensperger, others Trump pushed

The public hearing, the fourth by the panel this month, stems from its yearlong investigation into Trump's unprecedented attempt to remain in power, a sprawling scheme that the chairman of the Jan. 6 committee has likened to an "attempted coup."
6 days ago
A Yellowstone National Park ranger is seen standing near a road wiped out by flooding along the Gar...
MATTHEW BROWN and AMY BETH HANSON

Yellowstone Park aims for quick reopening after floods

Most of Yellowstone National Park should reopen within the next two weeks — much faster than originally expected after record floods pounded the region last week and knocked out major roads, federal officials said.
7 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Tax Harassment...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
Prescription opioids can be disposed of during National Prescription Take Back Day...
Know Your Script

Prescription opioid misuse | How to protect your family from the opioid epidemic

Studies have shown that prescription opioid misuse has increased since COVID-19. So what do you need to know about these opioids?
Follow @ikeyospe...

Tax Tuesday: The Most Common Mistakes People Make When Filing Their Taxes

Fortunately, for most average earners, they will not end up owing overpayments received for the Child Tax Credit in 2021.
Follow @ikeyospe...

Tax Tuesday: How will last year’s child tax credits affect you?

Fortunately, for most average earners, they will not end up owing overpayments received for the Child Tax Credit in 2021.
US official declares drought plan done for Colorado River