Beyond Drought: 7 States Rebalance Their Colorado River Use as Global Warming Dries the Region

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The seven states that share the Colorado River Basin faced a Jan. 31 deadline for agreeing to new interstate contingency plans on water rights. Without them, federal officials could order mandatory cuts. Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images Updated Feb. 1 with comments from U.S. Bureau of Land Reclamation commissioner. The Colorado River watershed may be reaching a climate tipping point, drying under the influence of global warming to the point that states and tribes in the basin can no longer put off a day of reckoning about the water allocations that have been their lifeblood for the past century. On Thursday night, Arizona joined other states that share the river basin in agreeing to voluntary water conservation plans. Its legislature approved a plan that helps balance the state’s competing water rights with of those of California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming, along with Native American tribes and Mexico. The states faced a Jan. 31 deadline for completing interstate contingency plans on water rights; without them, federal officials could order mandatory cuts later this year. Only a California water district had yet to agree . U.S. Bureau of Land Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman said Friday that with details in […]

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