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PHOENIX (AP) -- The federal government will be forced to settle the short-term question of how water from the Colorado River water will be divided for the next six months among Arizona and six other states.
At issue is whether the states along the upper river -- Colorado, Utah, New Mexico and Wyoming -- can withhold water from the lower-river states of Arizona, California and Nevada, which benefited more from the winter storm runoffs.
Representatives of the seven states will meet Tuesday in Las Vegas to discuss how much water should be released from Lake Powell downstream into Lake Mead this summer.
They aren't expected to reach an agreement, leaving the final call to Interior Secretary Gale Norton.
Some say fallout from the federal decision could sour longer-range discussions about the river's future.
(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)