Stakeholders sharing the Colorado River have started sending their water policy wish lists to the Bureau of Reclamation as they negotiate new river use guidelines.
Federal officials said Tuesday they will ease water cuts for Western states reliant on the Colorado River next year thanks to a slightly improved outlook, but long-term challenges remain.
A public process started Thursday to reshape the way Colorado River water is distributed, with federal officials promising to collect comments about updating and enacting rules in 2027 to continue providing hydropower, drinking water and irrigation to farms, cities and tribes in seven Western U.S. states and Mexico.
Nevada has taken a dramatic, but not immediate, step toward limiting the amount of Colorado River water used in the most populous part of the nation's most arid state, after lawmakers gave Las Vegas-area water managers the levers to limit flows to single-family homes.
More than half of the 3 million acre-feet in water cuts announced as part of a multi-state conservation deal will come from Arizona, state officials said on May 25.
Arizona, California and Nevada reached an agreement to cut their use of Colorado River water in exchange for massive federal payments.
The Biden administration floated two ideas this week to reduce water usage from the dwindling Colorado River, which supplies 40 million people.
Cuts to water use along the Colorado River could be spread evenly across some Southwestern states or follow the more than century-old priority system that currently governs water management.
The Biden administration released an environmental analysis Tuesday of competing plans for how seven Western states and tribes reliant on the dwindling water supply from the Colorado River should cut their use but declined to publicly take a side on the best option.
The federal government will pay the Gila River Indian Community to leave some of its share of Colorado River water in Lake Mead, as well as funding infrastructure projects to increase wastewater reuse in irrigation.
Days after storms dropped heavy rain on many parts of Arizona, authorities still are dealing with water-related deaths with more weather on the way.
After watching billions of gallons of rainwater wash away into the Pacific, California is taking advantage of extreme weather with a new approach: Let it settle back into the earth for use another day.