Arizona and California missed yesterday’s deadline to finish their drought contingency plans.
California, which is being viewed as the main holdout, missed their deadline due to a stalemate with California’s Imperial Irrigation District, the largest water user of the Colorado River.
The District’s board has said since 2018 that they will not sign a deal until they receive more resources to manage the Salton Sea's declining water levels and increasing salinity. The district is demanding $200 million in federal funds for restoration of the Salton Sea, and requiring final review of the drought plan before signing off on any deal brought to them.
Arizona was not able to complete the negotiations to the final agreements between water providers, cities, and tribes regarding cuts to water allotments before the March 4 deadline. However, the State is still moving forward with those negotiations.
Missing the deadline means the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation will now accept comments from the Governors of the Colorado Basin states on what actions they believe the Bureau should take to manage the Colorado River. The deadline for comments is March 19. It is expected that most states will submit aspects of their drought plans within their comments.
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