The Latest: Arizona, California optimistic on drought plan
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — The Latest on the Colorado River drought plan (all times local):
Water managers in Arizona and California say they’re confident they’ll get the work done needed to complete a drought plan.
The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation said Friday that the two states missed a federal deadline to finish the plan to combat a shrinking supply of Colorado River water.
Arizona passed legislation Thursday approving the authorization of the plan. More than a dozen agreements among water users still need to be signed.
Two entities that deliver Colorado River water in California want to review final agreements before giving their OK. One also is seeking federal funding for a lake created by runoff that’s been drying up.
The Bureau of Reclamation says it would start taking recommendations on how to manage the water supply if California and Arizona don’t wrap up the work by March 4.
The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation says two Western states failed to meet a deadline to complete a plan to address a shrinking supply of Colorado River water.
The bureau’s commissioner, Brenda Burman, said Friday that complex agreements among water users in California and Arizona haven’t been signed. She started a process to gather comments from governors in the seven states that rely on the river to address the supply.
She says she’ll terminate the process if Arizona and California have agreements in place by March 4.
The bureau operates under the Interior Department, which is considered the water master of the Colorado River. It has broad authority to step in and manage the river but Burman says she prefers the states reach consensus.
Arizona, California, Nevada, Utah, New Mexico, Colorado and Wyoming rely on the river.
All seven Western states that rely on Colorado River water now have agreed to a plan to keep key reservoirs from plummeting.
Arizona lawmakers approved the plan late Thursday, becoming the last state to meet a deadline set by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.
The bureau’s commissioner, Brenda Burman, plans to discuss the status of the plans Friday with reporters.
Arizona, California, Nevada, Utah, New Mexico, Colorado and Wyoming spent years crafting plans that recognize a shrinking supply of river water. The river supports about 40 million people and millions of acres of farmland in the U.S. and Mexico but can’t keep up with demand.
Under drought contingency plans, states voluntarily will give up water to prop up Lake Mead and Lake Powell. Mexico also has agreed to cuts.