Las Vegas, NV – Nevada and six other Colorado River states
filed a plan with the federal government today aimed at divvying up scarce water resources during drought. Official say the long-debated pact represents the most
comprehensive guidelines in the history of the river -- dating back to the 1920s. The proposal would let upper basin states release less water downstream if drought continues. Lower basin states would be allowed to augment their supplies with side agreements aimed at what the plan terms "intentionally created surpluses." They say it's designed to provide a level of certainty in uncertain times for 30 million people. That includes the four upper Colorado River basin states of
Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming -- plus the lower basin states of Arizona, California and Nevada. The plan was submitted to the Bureau of Reclamation as part of a draft environmental impact study of Colorado River operations. It is due for review by Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne. The chief executive of the Southern Nevada Water Authority calls
the plan "critical" to the Las Vegas area -- which is currently near its limit of drawing 300-thousand acre feet of water per year from Lake Mead.