Arizona joins Western states in blasting Utah plan to tap Colorado River water

By Tony Davis | Arizona Daily Star

US West faces reckoning over water but avoids cuts for now
A bathtub ring of light minerals delineates the high water mark on Lake Mead at the Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Thursday, Aug. 13, 2020, near Boulder City, Nev. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation is expected to release projections that suggest the levels in Lake Powell and Lake Mead dipped slightly compared with last year/.John Locher

In a highly unusual move, Arizona and five other Colorado River Basin states are challenging a proposed pipeline that would divert to a booming southwestern Utah community almost as much river water as Tucson uses every year.

Six of seven river basin states – all but Utah – wrote the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Tuesday, asking it to delay publishing a final environmental review of the proposed Lake Powell pipeline and making final decision on it. They want the bureau to wait until all seven states take time to “reach consensus regarding outstanding legal and operational concerns” about it.

The letter is highly unusual because until now, the river basin states have managed to work out various issues regarding the management of the over-allocated river without breaking out into major, public disputes. In fact, the letter mentions that history as one reason for seeking the delays on this pipeline.

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