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Colorado River Basin Contingency Plan gains Senate support

Published on 04 April 2019

All 14 senators from the seven-state Colorado River Basin (Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming) joined to introduce the Colorado River Drought Contingency Plan Authorization Act.

The proposal, introduced April 2, would implement the Colorado River Basin Drought Contingency Plan, created to ensure long-term drinking water for 40 million Americans, irrigation for 5.5 million acres of farmland and hydropower across the West.

The Colorado River Basin drains more than 246,000 square miles across the seven states and Mexico. The Drought Contingency Plan was negotiated between state leaders, Indian tribes and the federal government to respond to a prolonged drought in the region. It would establish water storage and use management parameters designed to protect Lakes Mead and Powell from reaching critical water elevations that would trigger severe water supply reductions and hydropower impacts.

To counter restrictions on water use under the plan, agricultural leaders in Arizona, for example, have been advocating for state and federal funds to help farmers complete development of water well projects and infrastructure.  end mark

The legislation is available here.

A letter containing the plan is available here.

Dave Natzke
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