US, Mexico pact on Colorado River water

A number of news outlets (including ASU’s Cronkite News Service!) have reported on the agreement between the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, the Central Arizona Water Conservation District, and the Southern Nevada Water Authority and one of their Mexican counterparts. The five-year agreement includes a one-time allocation of almost 100,000 acre-feet of water to the three US-side agencies, in return for $10 million that the Mexican agency will then use to repair irrigation infrastructure damaged in a 2010 earthquake. The three US water managers, which will split the allocation according to the amount of cash they’re contributing to Mexico, will store the water in Lake Mead for the time being.

The new agreement (called Minute 319 by the Department of the Interior) further includes an ongoing provision of Minute 318, which allows the Mexican agency to store water in Lake Mead during disruptions in its water-delivery infrastructure, or if it isn’t needed.

In addition to the direct economic benefit to both parties, the agreement will increase the amount of water in Lake Mead, which is great for recreational users, and it includes a provision to improve flows at the Colorado River’s delta. Look for a post describing the delta’s history and current conditions in the future.

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