By Elizabeth Whitman | Phoenix New Times
The board of the Central Arizona Project voted on Thursday to help finalize a Drought Contingency Plan for the state of Arizona, and it relented somewhat on the last serious sticking point in the talks — a demand to co-sign the plan with state authorities — as it approved the Lower Basin Drought Contingency Plan.
After months of contentious negotiations and stalled talks, these decisions smooth the way for the Arizona Legislature to approve a plan to stave off catastrophic shortages on the Colorado River. This plan specifies how Arizona will implement the multistate Lower Basin plan, which also includes Nevada and California.
The proposal, first made public during a Drought Contingency Plan Steering Committee meeting on November 29, lays out a broad framework for how Arizona water users would share cuts to their supply of Colorado River water during a shortage. According to federal projections, such a shortage is more likely than not to be declared in 2020.