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Experts Break Down What Colorado River Cuts Mean for the Basin States

The Colorado River basin states of Arizona, California and Nevada came to an agreement, planning to cut Colorado River usage in response to the megadrought.

Though officials would like to be clear; the plan hasn’t been agreed upon just yet as they want to see what the upcoming federal review from the Bureau of Reclamation has to say.

Amy Ostdiek of the Colorado’s top water agency, the Colorado Water Conservation Board, says “we have not agreed to anything. What we have agreed to is that Reclamation should analyze this proposal…. At that time, we can better understand it and our positions on it.”

According to Colorado Sun, the agreement among the three Lower Basin states is a milestone in the negotiations. But it’s also a stopgap measure to get the basin’s water users through 2026, when a set of rules that govern how water cuts are made during drought are set to expire. Those negotiations are going to be critical to finding long-term solutions that address water insecurity in the West and take climate change into account. Colorado might not be agreeing to any water cuts in this particular agreement, but that doesn’t mean they’ve dodged potential impacts, experts say.

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