The Latest: Vegas-area water managers advance drought plan
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — The Latest on drought contingency plans being considered by states that rely on the Colorado River (all times local):
Las Vegas-area water managers have become the first to advance a multi-state drought contingency plan that officials hope will ease the effects of Colorado River water shortages.
The Southern Nevada Water Authority board unanimously approved the state’s plan Thursday. It comes ahead of a meeting next month of water users from the seven Western states that rely on Colorado River water.
The decision also puts Nevada on course to try to keep water levels above key drought shortage trigger points at Lake Mead by committing to taking less water sooner from the reservoir behind Hoover Dam.
Negotiations on the drought plan have stalled in Arizona. One of the state’s major water users, the Central Arizona Project, offered a proposal Thursday to jumpstart the talks to manage shortages in that state.
A major Colorado River water user has proposed an interim plan for Arizona as it faces looming deadlines to manage expected shortages.
Arizona’s negotiations on a drought contingency plan have slowed after a trio of proposals failed to gain consensus among water users.
The Central Arizona Project board said Thursday its proposal could jumpstart talks. But it covers only three years of a required seven-year, multistate plan to manage the shrinking Colorado River.
The federal government has said it wants a plan from the seven states that use Colorado River water completed soon or it will step in.
The Central Arizona Project proposal would pull water from Lake Mead while encouraging Arizona water users to boost the reservoir’s level.
An Arizona drought contingency committee will consider the proposal this month.