By Andrew Nicla | Arizona Republic
A plan to divvy up cutbacks to Colorado River water in times of shortage has passed its first two tests in Congress.
On Thursday, a House subcommittee endorsed the Drought Contingency Plan after questioning the state and federal officials who crafted it. One of them, Tom Buschatzke, director of the Arizona Department of Water Resources, called on the committee and Congress to take “urgent action” and authorize it as soon as possible.
Thursday’s approval came a day after a Senate subcommittee endorsed the plan. Next, lawmakers in both chambers will have to negotiate and vote on bills that would allow the federal government to carry out the plan. Sen. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., who chaired the subcommittee, vowed action “as soon as possible.”
Buschatzke and the other officials stressed the short timeline they have tofinish work on the plan, a product of years of long and tense negotiations that crossed state and party lines.