The Latest: US sets Jan. 31 deadline for Colorado River plan
LAS VEGAS (AP) — The Latest on efforts for seven Southwestern states to reach agreement on Colorado River drought contingency plans (all times local):
Federal water managers are setting a Jan. 31 deadline for the seven Southwestern states that depend on the Colorado River to finalize unprecedented voluntary drought contingency plans they expect to have to enact in 2020.
Otherwise, top U.S. water official Brenda Burman says the federal government will announce in August the unspecified water restrictions it will impose on users in California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming.
The river and the huge Lake Powell and Lake Mead reservoirs provide drinking water to 40 million people and irrigation for crops in arid parts of the U.S. and Mexico.
Most states met Burman’s goal to reach agreements on plans to use less water.
Burman told a water users conference in Las Vegas that California and Arizona are the holdouts.
Water managers from seven Southwestern states that depend on the Colorado River are close but haven’t finalized an unprecedented drought contingency plan they may have to enact in 2020.
The federal government’s top water official, Brenda Burman, is expected to urge action Thursday at a Colorado River Water Users Association conference in Las Vegas where a pact was supposed to be signed.
The river and the huge Lake Powell and Lake Mead reservoirs provide drinking water to 40 million people and irrigation for crops in arid parts of U.S. and Mexico.
Arizona would be first to feel the pinch if a shortage is declared as expected next year.
Supplies to Nevada and California also could be curtailed.
Arizona state lawmakers still have to approve mitigation plans, perhaps in January.