Colorado River Cutback Plan to Start in January
"Arizona, Nevada and Mexico will start taking less water from the Colorado River in January as a hard-fought set of agreements kicks in to reduce the risk of reservoirs falling to critically low levels," reports Ian James. The Lower Basin agreement also means California will contribute water to Lake Mead if reservoir levels drop below a certain point.
This agreement, as well as Upper Basin plans and an additional accord with Mexico, is part of an effort to keep reservoir levels sustained for the next seven years. The effects of chronic overuse in past decades and years of drought are now being exacerbated by climate change, and the drought contingency plans are an attempt to get out ahead of the problem.
"Water managers and supporters of the latest Colorado River deal have called it a ‘bridge solution’ to get the region through 2026, by which time new guidelines for managing shortages are supposed to be in place," says James.