One good year of snowpack won't reduce long-term risks on the river.
Increased snow and rain in the Rio Grande basin states during February and March have created a statewide snowpack 135 percent above normal.
The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation has given governors or their representatives in the seven states until March 19 to recommend the next steps after California and Arizona failed to meet its deadlines.
Seven states have been working for years on drought contingency plans. Arizona and California have missed two deadlines.
The Imperial Irrigation District is the largest single recipient of Colorado River water, with 3.1 million-acre feet of California’s 4.4 million-acre entitlement under legal compacts stretching back nearly a century.
The snow is a welcome reprieve after a year of hot, dry weather that fueled wildfires and slowed tourism. But thirsty reservoirs are still not quenched.
The drought plan requires Arizona to find a way to reduce its use of Colorado River water by up to 700,000 acre-feet — more than twice Nevada's yearly allocation under the drought plan.
The other six states in the Colorado River basin have agreed to plans that recognize a long-running drought, the dwindling supply of water and how they intend to cope with it.
Women are more likely than men to be killed in natural disasters, and more likely to become refugees after drought and famine.