By Elizabeth Whitman | Phoenix New Times
A muted celebration settled over Arizona’s final meeting on its Colorado River drought plan on Tuesday, even though more than a dozen agreements remain unfinished and a federal deadline is less than two weeks away.
“I want to sincerely congratulate all the Steering Committee members,” said Leslie Meyers, the Phoenix area manager for the Bureau of Reclamation, referring to the 40 or so people who negotiated the Drought Contingency Plan over more than six months of intense talks. “I’m really proud to have been a part of this.”
Meyers, as well as other negotiators, acknowledged that the plan wasn’t finished. “We are absolutely committed to finishing the agreements that were outlined,” she added.
Yet another shadow hanging over the drought plan is a controversial bill, HB 2476, which has prompted the Gila River Indian Community to threaten to withdraw from the drought plan. Gila River leaders see the proposed legislation as undermining their water rights.