U.S. Bureau of Reclamation
By Brandon Loomis | Arizona Republic
LAS VEGAS — Arizona on Wednesday agreed to join neighboring states, tribal communities and the federal government to dramatically reduce the amount of Colorado River water drawn from drought-stricken Lake Mead for the next two years.
The top water managers for the state and the Central Arizona Project joined their counterparts from southern Nevada and California and the U.S. Interior Department in signing a commitment to slash 500,000 acre-feet a year. It’s enough to support more than a million Southwestern households, though most of the cuts will affect farm users who are willing to be compensated.
They’ll do it with $200 million in funding that will be used to pay users to leave water in the reservoir over the next two years, with half the money coming from the federal government through the recently passed infrastructure funding law.
Among the key players in the agreement are tribal water users in Arizona, who have already agreed to contribute at least 180,000 acre-feet of water toward the goal.
At a Caesars Palace signing during the Colorado River Water Users Association’s annual meeting, the partners from across the Southwest pledged to keep working together to find long-term solutions for coping with a fast-declining river.