As officials face a deadline to propose historically low water use reductions, cities and farmers in seven U.S. states are preparing for cuts this week.
This is setting up what is anticipated to be the most important week for Colorado River policy in years.
Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming were warned by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation in June to find a way to use at least 15% less water next year or face limitations... Additionally, the agency is slated to release hydrology forecasts that will lead to further already agreed-upon reduction.
From the Rocky Mountains, the Colorado River flows into the Southwest's dry deserts. It serves 40 million people as their main source of water.
About 70% of its water is used for irrigation, supporting a $15 billion agricultural production that provides 90% of the winter vegetables consumed in the United States.