Arizona, California and Nevada propose historic Colorado River conservation program to stabilize system

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The Arizona Department of Water Resources and Central Arizona Project have announced a consensus proposal developed by Arizona, California and Nevada, to conserve historic volumes of Colorado River water in Lake Mead.

The proposal reflects commitments to conserve three million acre-feet in Lake Mead over the next three years, the first 1.5 million of which would “front-load” by the end of 2024. This is expected to have an immediate impact on the stability of the Colorado River system.

With this proposal in hand, the Department of the Interior has announced it is temporarily withdrawing its draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) so that it can fully analyze the effects of the proposal under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). View our SEIS explainer here.

“This proposal protects the system in the short term, so we can dedicate our energy and resources to a longer-term solution,” says CAP General Manager Brenda Burman. “New guidelines for operating the system will be due by the end of 2026. There’s a lot to do and it’s time to focus.”

The proposal garnered a great deal of media attention. Following are links to a few of the relevant documents released on Monday, May 22: