By Ian James | Arizona Republic
With a deadline approaching for Arizona to finish a deal that would divvy up cutbacks in Colorado River water deliveries, the state’s cities, tribes and agricultural irrigation districts are entering what should be the final stretch of negotiations.
The talks are proving difficult, though, with points of disagreement over how the cuts should be spread around and how much water should be used to soften the blow for farmers in central Arizona who have the lowest priority in the state’s pecking order of water users.
The state’s top water managers canceled a Thursday meeting of a group they call the Drought Contingency Plan Steering Committee, saying in a statement that they wanted to “give time for additional discussions and analysis related to the four essential elements involved in this process.”
Those elements include how much “mitigation water” would be lined up for growers in central Arizona through 2026, as well as a water conservation plan and other elements of the proposed deal.