Lake Mead

In this July 28, 2014, file photo, lightning strikes over Lake Mead near Hoover Dam that impounds Colorado River water at the Lake Mead National Recreation Area in Arizona. Several states that rely on a major Western river are pushing for federal legislation to implement a plan to keep key reservoirs from shrinking amid a prolonged drought. The Colorado River serves 40 million people in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming. Representatives from those states are meeting Tuesday, March 19, 2019, to sign a letter to Congress asking for support for so-called drought contingency plans. AP Photo/John Locher, File)

FLAGSTAFF, AZ (AP) — States that rely on a major river in the U.S. West are pushing for federal legislation to implement a plan to protect the water amid a prolonged drought.

The Colorado River serves 40 million people in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming.

The states’ representatives are meeting Tuesday to sign a letter asking Congress to support their drought contingency plan.

Under the agreement, states would voluntarily give up water to keep Lake Mead and Lake Powell from crashing.

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation previously predicted a more than 50 percent chance that water deliveries to Arizona and Nevada would be cut in 2020.

The latest study shows a shortage might be averted. But officials say one good year of snowpack won’t reduce the risks on the river.

 


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