States sign deal to conserve Colorado River water

Western states have inked a drought-management deal for the Colorado River.

As many reservoirs are less than half full along the river, federal authorities and negotiators for Utah and six other Western states have finalized a plan to share the burden of voluntarily using less water as growing cities and warming temperatures deplete the supply for 40 million people.

Devised in 2017, the complex plan relies on residents of western states to use less water following a nearly two-decade drought. “Negotiators tinkered with fundamentals of the 1922 law that divvies up shares of Colorado River water for each state — an improvisation to try to address one of the planet’s toughest water problems caused by chronic overuse and climate change,” said a story in the Denver Post.

Federal water authorities have been pushing officials from western states to sign on to the plan. They are at the brink of declaring a shortage — which would trigger a federal takeover of managing deliveries from the Colorado River . This plan is viewed as a temporary bridge toward sustainable use of the river. Congressional officials have scheduled hearings next week aimed at implementing the plan.

The plan was signed on March 19.