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February 1, 2019

Arizona Lawmakers Pass Colorado River Drought Plan

The Arizona State Legislature today passed their portion of the Lower Basin Drought Contingency Plan. This is historic for Arizona and on the deadline set by U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke. The consensus plan preserves the levels of Lake Mead and mitigates the losses if and when the Lake reaches below Tier 1 and 2 levels. This plan protects the water rights in Yuma and offsets losses to central Arizona and Pinal County farmers.

The Arizona State Senate passed the bill at 3:00pm, the House at 5:00pm and Governor Doug Ducey signed the bill at 5:30pm. Western Growers staff was in attendance for the bill signing.

In December 2017, the U.S. Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman called on the seven Colorado River Basin States and water entitlement holders in the Lower Colorado Basin to continue developing Drought Contingency Plans in response to ongoing historic drought conditions in the Basin and reduce the likelihood of Colorado River reservoirs – particularly Lake Powell and Lake Mead – further declining to critical elevations.  All seven Colorado River Basin States have been working diligently throughout 2018 on a set of draft agreements that would implement Drought Contingency Plans in the Upper and Lower Basins.  The agreements include an Upper Colorado River Basin Drought Contingency Plan and a Lower Colorado River Basin Drought Contingency Plan.

For questions, contact AnnaMarie Knorr at (602) 451-0658.