Monday August 14, 2023


Fresh off a phenomenal winter snowpack, water levels on the Colorado River are going up for the first time in years.

As a result, federal officials will announce this week that they are easing water restrictions in the Southwest starting next year, three sources familiar with the plan told CNN, lifting the region from a Tier 2 water shortage to a Tier 1. It’s a remarkable turnaround that will give back billions of gallons of Colorado River water to millions of people in the Southwest, primarily in Arizona and Nevada.

But they can’t breathe a sigh of relief. Officials, farmers and tribes are bracing for more difficult negotiations on how to divvy up the river when the current interstate agreement expires in 2026.

The big, unanswered question: Exactly how much water is there to divvy, and how long can the Southwest expect to rely on it?

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