The seven western United States states that feed on water from the Colorado River have been unable to agree on a plan to deal with water level depletion due to climate change.
States had until January 31 to present their proposals to the federal government to split the cuts after contentious negotiations reached an impasse last year.
Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming have come together to present a last-minute proposal to make cuts to prevent reservoirs from falling to dangerously low levels. Those six states have excluded California from their proposal.
A substantial portion of the proposed six-state cuts would translate into especially large cuts for California, which uses more water from Colorado than any other state, warned the Los Angeles Times, which had access to the plan. Was.
For its part, California also submitted its own proposal to distribute the reductions by 2026, with reductions of about 500 million cubic meters by the state.
The federal government has asked states to reduce their overall use by an annual amount of between 2.5 billion and 5 million cubic metres.
Colorado’s dependent utility system provides water and electricity to more than 40 million people in the western United States.
California’s proposal underscores that the plan introduced by six other states would disproportionately burden Southern California’s farms and cities.
California senators Dianne Feinstein and Alex Padilla criticized the other states’ plan in a joint statement, saying it “is not a real agreed-upon solution,” especially since they have not offered further reductions in their own water use. .
Feinstein and Padilla asserted that the six-state proposal “does not recognize legal rights to water that California has by seniority.”
“We know that drought caused by climate change will require changes in water use in the Colorado River and that no state will be spared from water cuts,” the legislators stressed.
He said it was critical for any deal to be successful that it had the support of all seven states and the US Office of Recovery to “protect the long-term stability of our region.”
California was experiencing extreme drought, according to data from the US Drought Monitor, but storms in the last weeks of December and early January helped lift the state out of that category.
However, the rain hasn’t helped the larger reservoirs and the Colorado River Basin.