Briefly: U.S. government announces continued work with basin states, new restrictions on Colorado River

KUNC reports that an August forecast from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation puts the Colorado River Basin in a tier 2a shortage, triggering cutbacks in water use beginning in January 2023. Under these new shortage conditions, Arizona’s annual water apportionment will be cut by 21%, Nevada’s by 8%, and Mexico’s by 7%.

This comes at the same time as the seven Colorado River Basin states failed to meet a deadline set by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. In June, federal officials asked the basin states to propose a plan to cut their use of 2 to 4 million acre-feet of water in the next year in order to avoid Colorado River system collapse. The deadline for that plan was set for Aug. 16. Although the basin states missed the deadline and haven’t yet completed a plan to cut water use, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation said it will continue to work with affected states and tribes to reach an agreement.

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