The Latest: US official declares Colorado River plan done

By The Associated Press | Posted - Mar 19th, 2019 @ 4:29pm


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FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — The Latest on a Colorado River drought plan (all times local):

3:30 p.m.

The U.S. government says seven Western states that rely on the Colorado River have completed their work on a plan to protect the waterway amid a prolonged drought.

U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman made the declaration in a call with reporters Tuesday.

She commended Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming for reaching a consensus.

Tuesday marked another deadline she had set for states to wrap up years of work on the plan. She previously asked for governors to weigh in after California and Arizona missed an earlier deadline but says she'll cancel that request.

The states now are pushing for federal legislation to implement the drought plan.

The river serves more than 40 million people and 7,812 square miles (20,232 square kilometers) acres of farmland in the West.

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11:45 a.m.

States that rely on a major river in the U.S. West are pushing for federal legislation to implement a plan to protect the water amid a prolonged drought.

The Colorado River serves 40 million people in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming.

The states' representatives are meeting Tuesday to sign a letter asking Congress to support their drought contingency plan.

Under the agreement, states would voluntarily give up water to keep Lake Mead and Lake Powell from crashing.

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation previously predicted a more than 50 percent chance that water deliveries to Arizona and Nevada would be cut in 2020.

The latest study shows a shortage might be averted. But officials say one good year of snowpack won't reduce the risks on the river.

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