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[OP-ED How do we sustain the Colorado River past 2026? Here’s how Arizona intends to find out

Posted by   /  September 13, 2019  /  No Comments

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BOULDER CITY, NEV. – The Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation and representatives from all seven Colorado River Basin states gathered in May and signed completed drought contingency plans for the Upper and Lower Colorado River basins at Hoover Dam. These completed plans are designed to reduce risks from ongoing drought and protect the single most important water resource in the western United States.

By Tom Buschatzke and Ted Cooke

Opinion: The Drought Contingency Plan is working, but it’s just the beginning. Here’s how we move forward.

(Editor’s note: Opinion pieces are published for discussion purposes only.)

We can say with confidence that DCP is already a success.

DCP is providing a safe harbor while we work on important issues leading up to 2026, when the existing guidelines for the operation of the Colorado River system expire.

We now have an opportunity to build on the successful Arizona process that led to the DCP signing. Arizona is Stronger Together. And that will serve us well as we work toward the next step – maintaining a stable, healthy Colorado River system as we face a hotter and drier future.

Lake Mead is 22 feet higher than expected

A year ago, many of us were immersed in the details of Arizona’s Drought Contingency Implementation Plan, which benefited from the cooperative spirit of its participants, including elected leaders and representatives from every sector of the state’s water-using community.

In 2020 and likely 2021, we will be operating under DCP’s Tier Zero, a reduction of 192,000 acre-feet to Arizona. The estimated impact of contributing this water is more than $40 million, but the investment is worth it to protect the Colorado River system.

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