(WASHINGTON, D.C. – April 9, 2019) In a strong show of bipartisan support, Congress approved legislation late Monday to implement the Colorado River Drought Contingency Plan.
The Colorado River provides water to more than 40 million people and 5.5 million acres of farmland.
Developed in response to a 19-year drought, the Drought Contingency Plan outlines how much water Arizona, California and Nevada will conserve to avoid a water crisis in Lake Mead, the largest reservoir in the United States, as water levels fall to various thresholds. Starting next year, the additional cuts could amount to 192,000 acre feet for Arizona and 8,000 acre feet for Nevada if Lake Mead’s elevation falls at or below 1,090 feet. California would reduce its share of Colorado River water by 200,000 acre feet when Lake Mead falls at or below 1,045 acre feet.
“This is a major step toward a more secure future for the Southwestern United States and a valuable model for building climate resilience for the entire country.
“Water scarcity is a reality in the American West, and leaders in the region recognize that new thinking and collaboration on an unprecedented scale are required to take on this challenge. People and wildlife alike will be better off thanks to their work.”
- Fred Krupp, president of Environmental Defense Fund
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