A historic pact to save the Colorado River

The states of Arizona, California and Nevada reached a historic agreement to reduce water consumption from the Colorado River, threatened by the intense droughts of the last two decades and the climate crisis. Although it is a “temporary” solution, negotiations dragged on for almost a year.

A temporary patch, but unpublished. The states of Arizona, Nevada and California reached an agreement to reduce the consumption of water from the Colorado Riverthus protecting the communities that depend on it, when the great droughts of the last two decades and the climate crisis are hitting hard the water reserves of the reservoirs fed by the river. The three states of the “lower basin” pledged to reduce the consumption of river water by 3,700 cubic meters by 2026.half of the cut will be given by the end of 2024.

According to experts, the Colorado has been in a state of “almost continuous” drought for the past 23 years. The famous river runs more than 2,300 kilometers from the mountains of Colorado to Baja California, Mexico, supplying water and hydroelectric power to more than 40 million people and thirty Native American tribes.

Colorado River water management rules “are already outdated,” says Samuel Sandoval, a University of California water management expert at RFI. “The agreements are from 1900 to 1940, four decades of much more rainfall than now in that area.” “El Colorado was over-concessed” points out this expert on the RFI antenna, who explains that “although it is true that agriculture is what spends the most water, the reasons are multiple. The entire southern part of California, northern Baja California , Arizona… there’s an oversubscription.

The “interim” agreement comes after nearly 12 months of heated debate and negotiations over an overdrafted river on which thousands of farmers and communities depend and amid a burgeoning water crisis in the western United States. A patch, “they are buying some time” emphasizes Samuel Sandoval, an expert in water management at the University of California.

For his part, President Biden celebrated the agreement pointing to record resources being used to improve the long-term sustainability of the Colorado River. “It is fundamental to building a resilient future for states, tribes and communities across the West,” the president declared after the agreement was made official. The Biden Administration had already given an ultimatum to the seven states through which the river’s waters flow – Arizona, California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Wyoming and New Mexico – to the reduction of between 2,500 and 5,000 million cubic meters consumption of water from this vital source. Otherwise, the Executive would intervene with fines.

Several experts in water resources agree that long-term Colorado water quotas must be renegotiated.

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