#ColoradoRiver: #Minute323 signing today, includes water for the environment #ActOnClimate #COriver

The Colorado River is about 1,400 miles long and flows through seven U.S. states and into Mexico. The Upper Colorado River Basin supplies approximately 90 percent of the water for the entire basin. It originates as rain and snow in the Rocky and Wasatch mountains. Credit USGS.

Here’s a report from Dan Elliott writing for the Associated Press. Click through to read the whole article. Here’s an excerpt:

The agreement to be signed Wednesday calls for the U.S. to invest $31.5 million in conservation improvements in Mexico’s water infrastructure to reduce losses to leaks and other problems, according to officials of U.S. water districts who have seen summaries of the agreement.

The water that the improvements save would be shared by users in both nations and by environmental restoration projects

The deal also calls on Mexico to develop specific plans for reducing consumption if the river runs too low to supply everyone’s needs, said Bill Hasencamp of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, which supplies water to about 19 million people in and around Los Angeles.

Major river consumers in the U.S. would be required to agree on their own shortage plan before Mexico produces one, he said.

The deal will extend a previous agreement that both countries would share the burden of water supply cutbacks if the river runs low, Hasencamp said…

The agreement provides more certainty in how the two countries will deal with the risk of a shortage and recognizes the danger the river faces, he said.

“It’s an acknowledgement that the U.S. and Mexico both share risk due to a hotter and drier future,” [Chuck] Collum said…

The deal being signed Wednesday, known as Minute 323, is an amendment to a 1944 U.S.-Mexico treaty that lays out how the two nations share the river. The treaty promises Mexico 1.5 million acre-feet (1.9 billion cubic meters) of water annually…

The new agreement, which will be in force for nine years, does not include a repeat of the historic 2014 “pulse” that sent about 105,000 acre-feet (130 million cubic meters) of water surging into river’s delta in Mexico, the U.S. water officials said…

But the agreement does include up to 210,000 acre-feet (260 million cubic meters) for environmental restoration projects, according to a briefing from Southern California’s Imperial Irrigation District, one of the funders of the Mexican infrastructure projects.

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