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  • Writer's pictureKyle Nagy

Success, Defeat, or Kicking the Can Down the Road?

Link to Article: Western States Agree to Cut Use of Water From Colorado River Success, Defeat, or Kicking the Can Down the Road? If you do not have time to read the entire article, allow me to extract and apply the relevant.

"The states that use Colorado River water have agreed to cuts requested by the federal government to help keep two of the main reservoirs, Lake Mead and Lake Powell, from falling to critically low levels."

Finally! Great, which states are making cuts and how much?

"Under the agreement, California, Arizona and Nevada would voluntarily cut their use of water... by at least 3 million acre-feet by 2026, including 1.5 million next year."

Is it a solution everyone can be proud of?

1. "Interior Department officials praised the agreement... I commend our partners in the seven Basin states who have demonstrated leadership and unity of purpose..."

2. "Arizona officials called the cuts more equitable than under a past proposal by California which would have allocated the water largely in keeping with the priority system."

3. "President Biden called the deal an important step forward in our efforts to protect the stability of the Colorado River System"

Where are the cuts coming from?

1. "The latest cuts would largely come from farms, cities and tribes in the river’s lower basin, some of which have agreed not to use water in Lake Mead they were entitled to, given the record amounts of water that accumulated throughout the West this winter."

2. "Southern California’s Imperial Irrigation District, the largest user of water on the river, said it plans to increase the amount it is already conserving contingent on reimbursements from the federal government under the Inflation Reduction Act."

3. "Federal officials would compensate users of the water for most of their reductions. That was a request made by farmers in California, who had balked at a previous proposed deal crafted by the other states."

4. Nevada... agreed to bank more of its Colorado River water in Lake Mead through 2026, setting aside a total of 285,000 acre-feet—roughly a year of its total usage."

Hold on, "record amounts of water.. this year", "contingent on reimbursements from the federal government," and "compensate users of the water for most of their reductions."

An agreement based upon 1 year of snowfall, reimbursements, and paying farmers not to farm.

Is this a long term plan to successfully manage water in the West or are we kicking the can down the road?

"The agreement would push out to 2026 the need to take longer-term actions to help stabilize the Colorado River."

If you want a more critical assessment, the LVRJ ran and article yesterday. It was too long to summarize in a post.

Contributed by: Kyle Nagy


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