An environmental analysis was released by the Biden administration of plans as to how the seven Colorado River basin states should cut water usage but declined to take a stance between the two sides. On one side is California and some tribes who want to protect their high-priority rights to the river’s water, which they use for drinking and farming. On the other side are the other six states of Colorado, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Wyoming and New Mexico. They say it’s time to come up with a plan to more fairly share the river.
According to NBC News, the Interior Department did not say how states should get to deeper water cuts, but defended its authority to make sure basic needs such as drinking water and hydropower generated from the river are met — even if it means setting aside the priority system.
“Failure is not an option,” Interior Deputy Secretary Tommy Beaudreau told The Associated Press.
The 1,450-mile powerhouse of the West serves 40 million people across seven states, which span tribal land, and Mexico, generates hydroelectric power for regional markets, and irrigates nearly 6 million acres of farmland.