As talks on Colorado River water falter, U.S. government imposes new restrictions

Tuesday - 16/08/2022 13:53
The states have been told to develop plans to drastically reduce water use
The water level in Lake Mead, the nation’s largest reservoir, has been dropping amid severe drought conditions and has reached its lowest point since Hoover Dam was built in the 1930s.(Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times)
The water level in Lake Mead, the nation’s largest reservoir, has been dropping amid severe drought conditions and has reached its lowest point since Hoover Dam was built in the 1930s.(Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times)

After Colorado River Basin states failed to meet a deadline for emergency drought reductions, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation said it would continue to work with affected states and tribes to reach an agreement.

The states have been told to develop plans to drastically reduce water use by 2 million to 4 million acre-feet, but talks have grown acrimonious. At a press conference Tuesday, federal officials said that an agreement was urgently needed and that it was also declaring a tier 2 shortage for the next water year.

“In order to avoid a catastrophic collapse of the Colorado River System and a future of uncertainty and conflict, water use in the Basin must be reduced,” said Tanya Trujillo, the Interior Department’s assistant secretary for water and science.

Under tier 2 shortage conditions, Arizona’s annual water apportionment will be reduce by 21%, Nevada’s by 8% and Mexico’s by 7%. There is no required water savings contribution for California however.


Tony Briscoe is an environmental reporter with the Los Angeles Times. His coverage focuses on the intersection of air quality and environmental health. Prior to joining The Times, Briscoe was an investigative reporter for ProPublica in Chicago and an environmental beat reporter at the Chicago Tribune.

Author: Editors Desk

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