Tuesday September 6, 2022


Officials in California are closing in on an agreement to give up a significant portion of the water the state gets from the Colorado River, bowing to an emergency demand made by the federal government earlier this summer. 

Executives from two large water districts in the Golden State, which service the Los Angeles metropolitan area and the agriculture-heavy Imperial Valley, told Grist that they’re making progress on negotiations to leave roughly 10 percent of the state’s Colorado River water allocation in reservoirs next year, or at least 100 trillion gallons. The officials indicated that they may reach a deal as soon as this month, and said they believe other states will follow suit with cuts of their own, helping the federal government achieve its goal of stabilizing the Colorado’s two drought-wracked reservoirs, Lake Powell and Lake Mead.

But the deal under discussion falls far short of what federal officials have demanded: Water managers who spoke to Grist indicated that states will likely be able to cut water usage by around half of the minimum conservation target set by federal officials in June. Furthermore, many of the deal’s details are still unclear, including the size of contributions from states besides California. 

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