River Water Restrictions Unveiled Across 3 States

In response to a water deficit in the southwest, three western states have agreed to reduce their consumption from the Colorado River.

Forty million people in the southwest rely on water from the Colorado River, but the river has been in peril for years owing to a drought that experts attribute to global warming.

The U.S. Geological Survey reports that the river’s flow has decreased by 20% during the past century.

According to a statement released by the United States Department of the Interior, the states of California, Arizona, and Nevada have agreed to reduce their yearly water consumption by 3 million acre-feet by 2026. In exchange, they will receive financial support from the government.

No word has yet been on whether the other basin states—Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, or Wyoming—will also be signatories.

Lake Mead, the largest artificial reservoir in the United States, is a significant water source for 25 million people in the Southwest. The lake’s water level is getting perilously near deadpool, the point at which no more water can drain.

Forty million people, seven states, and 30 tribal nations get water, power, and other necessities from the Colorado River Basin. Experts have long worried about the consequences of the situation worsening in the Southwest.

Officials are considering extreme measures to preserve water, but it will take time to develop a strategy that all the states in the Colorado River basin can support.

In April, the Bureau of Reclamation of the United States Department of the Interior proposed a strategy to prevent the complete collapse of the Colorado River. The plan included three potential outcomes. This agreement may replace the previously discarded program.

The priority of water rights informed the first plan alternative. This plan would have prioritized the water-dependent population while implementing conservation measures.

Cities in the area would have had to make do with less water since farmers and Native American tribes would have had first dibs on it.

The second choice used a “same percentage” methodology. Under the plan’s terms, water restrictions would have been applied uniformly.

The third choice was to do nothing at all. However, nobody seriously considered this a possibility.