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Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Faced with a “historic” drought, Washington is cutting water quotas for some states and Mexico.

Some U.S. states and Mexico will have to cut their water usage to avoid “catastrophic” consequences for the Colorado River as the region suffers from a historic drought, the federal government announced Tuesday.

After more than two decades of less-than-usual rainfall, the level of this river, essential to the American West, is alarming. Drought cycles are exacerbated by anthropogenic climate change.

Despite years of warnings, states that depend on the river have not been able to sufficiently cut their water needs, forcing federal authorities to impose restrictions on Tuesday.

“To avoid a catastrophic collapse of the Colorado River system and uncertainty and conflict in the future, water use in the basin must be reduced,” said Tania Trujillo, a spokeswoman for the federal water agency.

Arizona will receive 21% less water in 2023, Nevada by 8%, and Mexico, where Colorado ends, by 7%.

California, the largest consumer of river water and the most populous US state, will not be affected next year.

Officials from upriver states denounced the decision as unfair.

“It is unacceptable that Arizona should continue to bear a disproportionate share of the burden of the cuts. [d’eau] for the benefit of others who did not contribute,” Tom Buschatske and Ted Cook, two senior water service officials in the southwestern US state, said in a press release.

The Colorado River originates in the Rocky Mountains and meanders through Colorado, Utah, Arizona, Nevada, California, and northern Mexico, where it flows into the sea.

It mainly feeds on snowfall, which accumulates in the winter at high altitudes and then gradually melts during the warmer months.

But under the influence of climate change, precipitation is decreasing and snow is melting faster, depriving the river that supplies water to tens of millions of people and many farms.

The Home Office, which manages natural resources in particular, is doing everything in its power “to conserve water” and ensure that all those affected receive “adequate assistance,” Deputy Secretary Tommy Baudreau said.

“Increasingly severe drought affecting the Colorado River watershed is linked to the effects of climate change, including extreme heat and low rainfall,” he said.

The American West is in its 23rd year of drought, making it the worst drought in over 1,000 years.

This dry environment contributes to the spread of increasingly destructive wildfires.

Local measures are also being taken in cities served by the Colorado River, such as Los Angeles, for example, with unpopular outdoor watering restrictions.

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World Nation News Desk
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