Colorado River Crisis as tensions rise on which states get less water. Parties have not made an agreement and time is running out

Visitors walk on Hoover Dam high above Lake Mead. The reservoir near Las Vegas has shrunk during 23 years of drought intensified by climate change. (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

Revelation 16:9 “They were scorched by the fierce heat, and they cursed the name of God who had power over these plagues. They did not repent and give him glory.”

Important Takeaways:

  • Tensions grow over lack of a water deal for the shrinking Colorado River
  • The states and managers of affected water agencies were told to come up with plans to reduce water use drastically, by 2 million to 4 million acre-feet, by mid-August. After weeks of negotiations, which some participants say have at times grown tense and acrimonious, the parties have yet to reach an agreement.
  • The absence of a deal now raises the risk that the Colorado River crisis — brought on by chronic overuse and the West’s drying climate — could spiral into a legal morass.
  • There have also been growing tensions between the states of the river’s Lower Basin — California, Arizona and Nevada — and those of the Upper Basin — Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico and Utah.
  • The federal Bureau of Reclamation is scheduled to hold a news conference Tuesday to present the government’s latest projections of reservoir levels, which will dictate water cuts for the Lower Basin states under a previous 2019 deal. Lake Mead and Lake Powell have fallen to record-low levels, now nearly three-fourths empty, and are projected to continue dropping.

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