One good year of snowpack won't reduce long-term risks on the river.
U.S. Bureau of Reclamation
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.
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 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.
A deal was supposed to be signed by the end of 2018, under threat that the water levels on the river would push the federal government to impose its own restrictions.
Colorado River water supports about 40 million people and millions of acres of farmland in the U.S. and Mexico.
Arizona water managers have been leading a series of biweekly meetings since July to work out details of the proposed drought-contingency plan.
Drought has severely affected reservoir levels in Colorado and water supply is well below normal in almost all of the state’s major basins.