drought

A California irrigation district with the highest-priority rights to water from a major Western river is using its power to demand federal funds to restore the state's largest lake, hoping to capitalize on one of its best opportunities yet to tackle a long-standing environmental and human health hazard.

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Arizona water officials say the state won't have all the pieces of a Colorado River drought plan wrapped up by a March 4 deadline set by the federal government.

U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

Arizonans celebrated the completion of their Drought Contingency Plan yesterday, passed by the state legislature just hours before a deadline set by the federal government. But the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation says Arizona and California aren’t finished yet, and announced this morning it will step in. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny reports.

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The Arizona Senate has voted to join a seven-state Colorado River drought plan, and the state House was expected to follow suit.

U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

The Arizona state legislature has to put its stamp of approval on a “Drought Contingency Plan” by tomorrow or it risks the federal government stepping in. Farms, cities, tribes, and water agencies negotiated the plan to reduce the risk of Lake Mead falling to catastrophically low levels. It outlines how water users will share Colorado River shortages, but those agreements are contentious. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny spoke about the plan with Arizona State University water policy expert Sarah Porter.

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