California Submits Counterproposal to Protect Reservoirs

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Los Angeles (AFP) – California presented its counterproposal to reduce water demand in the absence of a regional agreement between the states that feed from the Colorado River, whose reduction sets off alarm bells in the western United States.

The document, practically the same as the one designed last year, proposes to reduce its quota of water from the Colorado River for three years.

The Department of Reclamation, the government agency in charge of managing the water resources of the United States, asked the seven states that are supplied by the Colorado River to reach an agreement to reduce their demand by a third as the Mead and Powell reservoirs reach critical levels after more than two decades of extreme drought in the west of the country.

Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming missed their second deadline on January 31 to reach this regional agreement and avoid restrictions imposed unilaterally from Washington.

California, the most populous state in the region and with the largest extension of crops, argues that in the absence of an agreement, the legal framework that regulates the region should prevail and that it would save it from greater sacrifices by placing the agricultural sector first. .

Officials from California’s district water departments proposed last week to cut off the Colorado River’s water supply to major western cities, including Phoenix and Las Vegas, which rely heavily on this source, according to CNN.

In return, the other six states increased the pressure and presented on Monday a model that proposes greater cuts for California, absent from the text.

The states hope that this document will serve as the basis for reaching an agreement that will allow them to “stabilize the Colorado River system.”

“We are committed to doing more,” Adel Hagekhalil, CEO of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, said in a statement Tuesday.

“But we have to do it in a way that doesn’t threaten the people who depend on the river, the 19 million people in Southern California.”

“We have to do it in a way that doesn’t devastate our $1.6 trillion economy,” he added.

The Colorado River rises in the Rocky Mountains and flows through Colorado, Utah, Arizona, Nevada, California, and northern Mexico, where it empties into the Gulf of California.

It feeds primarily on high-altitude snowpack that gradually melts during the warmer months.

But decreased precipitation and increased temperatures due to climate change have altered the cycles with less snow melting faster.

As a result, less water reaches the river that supplies tens of millions of people and is crucial for irrigating thousands of hectares of crops and for power generation.

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