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States volunteer to take more cuts in Colorado River water

Colorado River buoy
AP Photo/John Locher, File
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A buoy rests on the ground at a closed boat ramp on Lake Mead at the Lake Mead National Recreation Area near Boulder City, Nev., on Aug. 13, 2021. To help stave off another round of mandatory cutbacks, water leaders for Arizona, Nevada and California are preparing to sign an agreement on Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2021, that would voluntarily reduce water to the lower Colorado River basin states by 500,000 acre-feet for both 2022 and 2023.

Water leaders in California, Arizona and Nevada have signed an agreement to further reduce their take of Colorado River water to help stave off wider, mandatory cuts in the future.

The signing took place Wednesday at the annual Colorado River Water Users Association conference in Las Vegas.

The three states get their water delivered through Lake Mead.

This year, the lake dropped to a level that requires mandatory reductions for Arizona, Nevada and Mexico in 2022. More than 40 million people in the U.S. West rely on the Colorado River.