AP NEWS

Colorado River drought plan gets first congressional hearing

March 27, 2019
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FILE - In this July 28, 2014, file photo, lightning strikes over Lake Mead near Hoover Dam that impounds Colorado River water at the Lake Mead National Recreation Area in Arizona. Several states that rely on a major Western river are pushing for federal legislation to implement a plan to keep key reservoirs from shrinking amid a prolonged drought. The Colorado River serves 40 million people in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming. Representatives from those states are meeting Tuesday, March 19, 2019, to sign a letter to Congress asking for support for so-called drought contingency plans. AP Photo/John Locher, File)
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FILE - In this July 28, 2014, file photo, lightning strikes over Lake Mead near Hoover Dam that impounds Colorado River water at the Lake Mead National Recreation Area in Arizona. Several states that rely on a major Western river are pushing for federal legislation to implement a plan to keep key reservoirs from shrinking amid a prolonged drought. The Colorado River serves 40 million people in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming. Representatives from those states are meeting Tuesday, March 19, 2019, to sign a letter to Congress asking for support for so-called drought contingency plans. AP Photo/John Locher, File)

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — A plan that outlines how seven states will deal with declining flows in a major river in the U.S. West is getting its first hearing in Congress.

The drought contingency plan aims to keep two Colorado River reservoirs from crashing.

Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming recently agreed to push for federal legislation to implement the plan.

Their goal is to have a bill approved by April 22 so that Mexico’s water contributions also kick in next year, though nothing’s been introduced yet.

The head of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation is among those testifying before a U.S. Senate subcommittee Wednesday on the drought plan.

The Colorado River serves 40 million and about 7,812 square miles (20,232 square kilometers) of farmland in the West.