In a historic deal after months of negotiations between the three Lower Basin States reliant on the water supply from the Colorado River, Arizona, California, and Nevada have concluded an agreement with the Biden/Harris Administration where:

  • “The Lower Basin States would voluntarily conserve three million acre-feet of water over the next three years, which amounts to 13 percent of these states’ total allocation from the river.”
  • “The Biden administration will pay for three-quarters of the water savings — or 2.3 million acre-feet — which would amount to about $1.2 billion in federal funds. The money from the Inflation Reduction Act would pay farmers, Native American tribes, cities, and others who voluntarily forgo their supplies.”

Commenting on the deal, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland relayed in a statement:

“There are 40 million people, seven states, and 30 Tribal Nations who rely on the Colorado River Basin for basic services such as drinking water and electricity. Today’s announcement is a testament to the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to working with states, Tribes, and communities throughout the West to find consensus solutions in the face of climate change and sustained drought. In particular, I want to thank Deputy Secretary Tommy Beaudreau and Reclamation Commissioner Camille Calimlim Touton, who have led the discussions with Basin state commissioners, Tribes, irrigators, local communities, and valued stakeholders to reach this critical moment.”

The deal, as reported by media outlets like the Washington Post, is not a permanent solution to the long-term water supply issues with regard to the Colorado River Issue.

It is a stop-gap measure to stabilize water supply levels at Lake Powell and Lake Mead.

Several of Arizona’s leading figures offered their responses to today’s historic deal.

Arizona Governor Katie Hobbs:

“The Lower Basin Plan is the product of months of tireless work by our water managers to develop an agreement that stabilizes the Colorado River system through 2026. Thanks to the partnership of our fellow Basin States and historic investments in drought funding, we now have a path forward to build our reservoirs back up in the near term. From here, our work must continue to take action and address the long-term issues of climate change and overallocation to ensure we have a sustainable Colorado River for all who rely upon it.”

Senator Mark Kelly:

“The best solution for tackling the water shortage along the Colorado River has always been for states to come together to protect the river that we all depend on. This proposal is an encouraging step, made possible by the Basin states negotiations and the Department of Interior using the resources we provided through the Inflation Reduction Act and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to conserve water. I look forward to the review of this proposal and working with all partners in the Colorado River Basin to secure our water future.”

Tucson Mayor Regina Romero:

“This consensus proposal is a step in the right direction when it comes to taking urgent action to protect the Colorado River system; however, I ask all parties to immediately shift their focus to the future of the Colorado River post-2026. The City of Tucson has been a leader in water conservation in the Southwest. We applaud the efforts of Governor Hobbs and we look forward to working together with Arizona cities and our neighboring states who are making voluntary efforts to support a secure water future.”

Arizona Congressional District Three House Represenative and Senate Candidate Ruben Gallego:

“I commend our state’s water managers and negotiators for finalizing a deal that protects the Colorado River system. Thanks to their efforts, Arizona will have a more stable water system and a chance to rebuild our reservoirs in the coming years. With a plan now in place, I look forward to keeping up the momentum of pushing for solutions to conserve our state’s water and ensuring Arizonans receive the water allocations they rightfully deserve.”

Arizona Congressional District Four House Represenative Greg Stanton:

“Today’s agreement among the Lower Basin states is a workable path forward—and though it does not resolve questions over the long term, it does provide all Colorado River users with a short-term solution that gives us much-needed time to solve the challenges ahead. It represents collaboration and compromise from all parties—and the Department of the Interior should accept it without delay.

While this agreement is welcome, it uses drought dollars from the Inflation Reduction Act to quite literally buy time. It’s imperative that Interior not let a moment go to waste in deploying the remainder of funds under the Act and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to invest in long-term conservation efforts.”