Wednesday May 24, 2023


For months, California officials led by Gov. Gavin Newsom felt like they were at the bottom of a multistate dogpile in the closely-watched staredown over water rights across the American West.

Newsom and his top environmental aides viewed century-old laws as favoring them. And they tried to convince other states that California had already sacrificed by slashing its use. But they were getting crushed not only in the P.R. war, but in the delicate discussions taking place between the various states behind closed doors.

That all changed in a dramatic way on Monday, when California went from the main villain over dwindling Colorado River supplies to something of a surprise beneficiary. The joint plan presented alongside Arizona and Nevada and roundly viewed as a victory by California officials — as well as environmentalists and business leaders alike — proposes to hold off a water crisis for at least three more years.

Under the proposal, the trio of states would take about 13 percent less water every year through 2026 in exchange for $1.2 billion in federal compensation. At the heart of their pitch was the notion that California’s loss would be felt far beyond its borders.

Read more >

Link copied successfully