Yuma Growers Know Water Cuts are Coming

A mid-August deadline for western states to submit plans to cut up to 4 million acre feet of water from their Colorado River allocations came and went in mid-August.

No plan was submitted, and the expectation was that the federal government would step in and mandate cuts that would dramatically impact Arizona in particular, prop up reservoir levels at Lakes Mead and Powell, and possibly reshape Colorado River water distribution in the west.

That didn’t happen. Instead, the Department of the Interior announcement Tuesday reiterated already planned cuts, announced a two-year study period, and, depending on who you ask, kicked the can down the road yet again on dealing with water in the west.

Today we’ll hear from Paul Brierley of the University of Arizona Center of Excellence for Desert Agriculture – he’ll talk about what growers here in Yuma expected from federal action, and what it means for the coming crop year.

And Luke Runyon is a regular contributor to our reporting on water in the west, he is managing editor and reporter at KUNC in Greeley, Colorado. We’ll talk to him about the implications of the actions the federal government did take this week, and ask about what comes next as projections continue to show water levels at Lake Mead and Lake Powell are under threat.

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