“There are 40 million people, seven states and 30 tribal nations who depend on the Colorado River Basin for basic services like drinking water and electricity,” US Interior Secretary Deb Haaland praised the agreement that ended decades of disputes. said in a statement. ,
The initiative was promoted by California, Nevada (west) and Arizona (southwest), three states in the lower basin of the river that flows through the American Southwest.
The agreement commits to voluntarily adopt measures to save 3.7 billion cubic meters of water from now to 2026.
A portion of these savings will be “offset by money from the Inflation Reduction Act,” a major climate law passed in Washington last year, according to the statement.
Democrat Joe Biden’s administration had threatened broad sanctions if the talks remain deadlocked.
The announcement is “proof” of the government’s “commitment” “to find agreeable solutions to climate change and persistent drought,” Haaland said.
For Arizona Governor Katie Hobbs, the agreement is the result of “months of tireless work”.
In a separate statement, he said: “We now have a way to raise the levels of our reservoirs in the short term. From there, our work must continue to drive action and address the long-term problem of climate change.”
– “Significant Clipping”
The Colorado River flows from the Rocky Mountains (parallel to the west coast) to the Gulf of California, northwestern Mexico.
The water level in Lake Mead, the United States’ largest reservoir in Nevada, fell in 2022 to its lowest level since the construction of Hoover Dam, exposing slopes not seen since the 1930s and even That the dead body of an alleged Las Vegas mob murder victim discovered.
Last year, federal officials urged seven western states (along with Utah, Colorado, Wyoming and New Mexico) to agree to reduce their consumption by a maximum of 40% of the river’s flow.
Six states proposed that most of these restrictions be imposed on California, which did not accept the plan and then issued a counterproposal, suggesting that the cuts be made primarily upstream.
The system that has regulated the distribution of river water for more than a century favors farmers in California, the nation’s most populous state.
“California has taken matters into its own hands” to make “significant reductions in water use,” California Gov. “The entire western United States is on the front lines of climate change – we must work together to address this crisis.”