Drought prompts states along Colorado River to draft separate water cut plans

In the face of persistent drought, states divided by the Colorado River are presenting individual plans to manage water shortages.

Jennifer Yachnin reports for E&E News.


In short:

  • Upper and Lower Basin states are independently preparing new operational strategies for the drought-stricken Colorado River.
  • The proposal is a preliminary effort to address water scarcity and is set to be presented on March 11.
  • There is an ongoing debate on equitable water reduction distribution amidst climate change-induced reductions in river flow.

Key quote:

“We have to acknowledge, though, the pain that is inherent with living on the front lines of climate change.”

— Becky Mitchell, Colorado River commissioner

Why this matters:

Understanding how to sustainably manage the Colorado River is important, as it affects the water supply for more than 40 million people and agriculture. The ongoing negotiations reflect larger issues of climate impact and water rights that have national significance.

Peter Dykstra: Lake Mead is in desperate shape. Along with Lake Powell, upstream on the Colorado River, Mead is the key to prosperity for the booming cities, suburbs and farms of the desert Southwest.

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