(Los Angeles) California has published a counter-proposal concerning the sharing of the Colorado River, on which six other American states depend for their water supply and accuse it of not playing the game to collectively reduce consumption, in the face of drought hitting the American West.
Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming had until January 31 to reach an agreement or face cuts from the federal government in Washington. .
But this deadline has not been met, revealing tensions between California and its neighbors. Faced with a common plan announced by the six other states to reduce their water consumption, the “Golden State” proposed a project on Tuesday with its own cuts, while defending the current overconsumption.
“In the absence of a consensus proposal from the seven states, (we) should maintain existing protections,” which grant California more rights than its neighbors to draw from the river, explained the California management agency. water from the Colorado River in its proposal to federal authorities.
The Colorado River, which rises in the Rocky Mountains and flows through the American West to empty into the Pacific, has been overexploited for decades. And after two decades of drought fueled by global warming, the huge reservoirs that depend on it have reached dangerously low levels.
The future of tens of millions of Americans, farmers or inhabitants of large metropolises like Las Vegas and Los Angeles depends on these acrimonious negotiations.
California is particularly worried about the future of its agricultural sector, which feeds much of the United States and is very water-intensive.
As part of the talks, the state offered last week to model what would happen if major cities like Phoenix, Arizona, and Las Vegas, Nevada, were cut off from supplies from Colorado, according to CNN. A suggestion deemed unacceptable by the other parties, according to the chain.
The other six states have proposed a common plan to reduce their consumption, with limitations to “mitigate the risk” that the region’s two main reservoirs, Lake Powell and Lake Mead, will dry up completely.
The Californian authorities insist on the savings already made over the past twenty years.
“We are committed to doing more now,” Adel Hagekhalil, the agency’s managing director for Southern California, said on Twitter. “But we have to do it in a way that doesn’t harm half of the people who depend on the river – Southern California’s 19 million people. »
According to him, the California proposal “equitably shares the risk between the states […] without harming any agency or state,” contrary to the common plan backed by neighboring states.