State Planning for Water Nightmare

State Planning for Water Nightmare

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(Denver-AP) -- A compact that regulates Colorado River water is taking on new meaning amid a five-year drought.

The 1922 Colorado River Compact requires Colorado, Wyoming, Utah and New Mexico to provide seven-point-five (m) million acre-feet of river water each year to California, Arizona and Nevada.

So far, Lake Powell in Utah has had enough water to give California, Arizona and Nevada their due. But federal officials say the lake could drain completely if the drought continues for two or three more years.

If that happens, Colorado and the other upstream states would have to leave more water in the Colorado River.

The Denver Water Board and other large Colorado water users are expected to begin forming contingency plans this year.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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