As critical deadline nears, only half of a plan to save #ColoradoRiver water has been proposed: The most substantial #water cuts must come from #Arizona and #California, which use the most water, experts say — The #Denver Post #COriver #aridification

A field of produce destined for grocery stores is irrigated near Yuma, Ariz., a few days before Christmas 2015. Photo/Allen Best – See more at: http://mountaintownnews.net/2016/02/09/drying-out-of-the-american-southwest/#sthash.7xXVYcLv.dpuf

Click the link to read the article on The Denver Post website (Conrad Swanson). Here’s an excerpt:

Water officials from Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming published a plan this week to appease federal officials wanting to save water from the drying Colorado River but didn’t include any specific, mandatory cuts to save the precious resource. One critic called the Upper Colorado River Commission’s five-point plan “meaningless gibberish” but Jennifer Gimbel, senior water policy scholar at Colorado State University’s Water Center, said it’s the strongest action she’s seen from the states in recent years. The most substantial cuts and savings must come from Arizona and California, Gimbel noted, since those two states are taking more water than the Colorado River has to give…

The upper-basin states are also limited in the amount of cuts they can make in water use because they’re dependent on the amount of snow and rain that falls each year, Sara Leonard, spokeswoman for the Upper Colorado River Commission, said. Now eyes turn to those lower-basin states of Arizona, California and Nevada.

“We look forward to hearing what they may bring to the table,” Leonard said.

U.S. Bureau of Reclamation officials gave all seven states until August 15 to create a plan to save between 2 million and 4 million acre-feet of water. If they fail, the federal government will take control and impose its own cuts as water use exceeds supply and an ongoing megadrought continues to sap water from the Colorado River…

Charles Collum, executive director of the Upper Colorado River Commission, wrote to Reclamation officials on Monday noting that water users in the four states “already suffer chronic shortages” under current conditions but also outlining his organization’s five-point plan to help save more water. The plan includes considering a new demand management program, better measuring and monitoring water use, continuing existing “strict water management and administration” and developing a new “Drought Response Operations Plan.”

…the upper-basin states already live within their water allotment, Leonard added, and they cut water use by 25% last year.

“Meanwhile, Lower Basin uses have not been reduced despite the unprecedented drought impacting the Basin,” Leonard said in an email.

Those states, particularly Arizona and California, are using nearly 10 million acre-feet each year, more than they’re legally allotted. As of Friday, lower-basin states had yet to put forth any plan of their own.

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