Friday October 27, 2023

Los Angeles Times

Current plans for reducing water use along the Colorado River should be sufficient to stave off the risk of reservoirs reaching critically low levels over the next three years, according to a new analysis by the federal government.

The Biden administration announced the results of its analysis Wednesday, indicating that cuts in water use pledged earlier this year by California, Arizona and Nevada are likely to ease the threat of reservoirs declining to perilous lows — at least in the short term.

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation cited the wet year and the above-average snowpack in the Rocky Mountains as a key factor that has helped reduce the risk of a crash in supplies between now and the end of 2026, when the current rules for dealing with shortages expire.

The three states in May committed to reducing water use by 3 million acre-feet over three years, cutting usage by about 14% across the Southwest. Federal officials said those voluntary conservation efforts, largely supported by federal funds, allow the region to discuss new long-term rules for managing the river over the next two decades.

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