Feds seek governors’ input on drought plan as deadline missed

By Howard Fischer | Capitol Media Services via Arizona Capitol Times

With another deadline missed Monday, the head of the Bureau of Reclamation is now looking for the governors in the states in the Colorado River basin to tell her what they think she should do to keep water levels from dropping even lower.

But there’s just two weeks for them to do that.

Brenda Burman /Photo courtesy of Bureau of Reclamation

The move by Brenda Burman is no surprise. In fact she published a notice in the Federal Register on Feb. 1 – after she said Arizona and California had not acted by the Jan. 31 deadline for final approval of all elements of the drought contingency plan – setting up the process for gubernatorial input.And with a shortage on Lake Mead expected to be declared next year, Burman said it ultimately will fall to her to decide how to keep the situation from getting worse if the seven affected states have not all come to an agreement in time to determine the operations of not just Mead but also Lake Powell further upstream to protect the river.

“The department is highly concerned that continued delays regarding adoption of the DCPs inappropriately increases risk for all that rely on the waters of the Colorado River,” the agency said in its earlier public notice. “In the circumstances that the DCPs cannot be promptly completed in early 2019, the department must be prepared to take actions – if needed – to respond to the increasing risks facing the Colorado River basin.”

In a statement Monday, spokeswoman Theresa Eisenman said her agency does not want it to come to that.


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