Biden Administration Supports Short-Term Colorado River Water Conservation Plan

Credits: U.S. Department of the Interior

The Biden administration announced its support for a consensus-based, short-term proposal aimed at promoting significant water conservation efforts in the Colorado River basin.

The plan, which involves at least 3 million acre-feet of system-wide usage reductions, is designed to address water shortages until current operational guidelines expire at the end of 2026.

The administration plans to utilize up to $670.2 million in Inflation Reduction Act funds to support more than 1.58 million acre-feet of water conservation.

Colorado River (Credits: E&E News)

Acting Deputy Secretary Laura Daniel-Davis emphasized the administration’s commitment to investing in communities, bolstering climate resiliency, and protecting natural resources.

The proposed cutbacks were originally submitted by the Colorado River’s seven basin states in May 2023 and were selected as the “preferred alternative” in a final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement released by the Interior Department.

The reductions aim to bolster the dwindling Lake Mead and Lake Powell reservoirs until new long-term guidelines are established. All seven states began negotiating reductions after Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Camille Touton requested that they find a way to cut annual consumption by 2 to 4 million acre-feet.

These reductions would help ensure the stability of the Colorado River System and are part of ongoing efforts to address water scarcity in the region.

The Biden administration’s investment in water conservation efforts underscores its commitment to addressing environmental challenges and promoting sustainable water management practices.

By working collaboratively with states and stakeholders, the administration aims to ensure the long-term health and vitality of the Colorado River basin.

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