President Biden is stepping into the fight over water supplies from the Colorado River that affect over 40 million Americans in seven western states, citing climate change and a drought that no longer exists after heavy winter storms as an excuse for federal intervention.
(Video Credit: CBS News)
On Tuesday, the Biden administration laid out plans that would severely cut water supplies to seven states, referring to a drought that stretches back decades.
According to Fox News, “The Department of the Interior (DOI) released a draft proposal that highlighted two potential actions it could take to combat the Colorado River Basin’s deteriorating water levels. The two proposals would each consist of federally-mandated supply reductions for states that are dependent on the river system which provides water for more than 40 million Americans and is vital for western states’ economies.”
“Failure is not an option,” Tommy Beaudreau, who is the DOI’s deputy secretary, proclaimed in a statement. “Recognizing the severity of the worsening drought, the Biden-Harris administration is bringing every tool and every resource to bear through the president’s Investing in America agenda to protect the stability and sustainability of the Colorado River System now and into the future.”
Newsweek is reporting that the Southern Sierra snowpack is 257 percent greater than the average for this time of year, and 247 percent larger than is average for the usual snowpack peak on April 1. The Central Sierra and Northern Sierra also have hugely inflated snowpacks at 218 percent and 168 percent of the average for early March. The Sierra Nevada mountains stretch approximately 400 miles from Northern California southward to the Great Basin.
Brief thread about…snow. As of this weekend, the Southern Sierra now appears to have largest snowpack in recorded history (as measured by snow water equivalent, or SWE). Not just for the calendar date, but for *any* date! #CAwx #CAwater [1/n] pic.twitter.com/FYmFXqs2yL
— Daniel Swain (@Weather_West) March 12, 2023
The Sierra Range supplies 30 percent of California’s water needs, unless, of course, the leftist leaders in the state just dump it into the ocean as they are wont to do. When that snowpack melts there will be a massive runoff and the drought will pretty much be done for now. So, naturally, the Biden administration wants to cut everyone’s water supply out west.
In addition to supplying water to over 40 million Americans, the 1,450-mile Colorado River also supplies water to 5.5 million acres of agricultural land, provides electricity to millions of residents through hydroelectric dams, and has key recreational and ecological uses.
The seven states receiving water from the river are broken into two groups. The Upper Basin includes Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming. The Lower Basin is comprised of Arizona, California, and Nevada.
LA,Vegas a.o. could face huge water cuts
The Biden administration on Tuesday released a highly anticipated analysis of the Colorado River crisis that paints a dire picture of what that river system’s collapse would portend for the West’s major cities, farmers and Native tribes. pic.twitter.com/mMoktCRHkO
— Fred Lorenz (@VendcomCH) April 11, 2023
The Upper Basin primarily gets water from smaller rivers that branch off the Colorado River. The Lower Basin gets its water from Lake Powell, which is a man-made reservoir along the Utah-Arizona border, and Lake Mead, a reservoir along the Nevada-Arizona border. Both have been severely depleted by drought. The Glen Canyon Dam in northern Arizona and Hoover Dam in southern Nevada are able to control water flows from the respective reservoirs to the Lower Basin states.
“Drought conditions in the Colorado River Basin have been two decades in the making,” Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Camille Calimlim Touton claimed. “To meet this moment, we must continue to work together, through a commitment to protecting the river, leading with science and a shared understanding that unprecedented conditions require new solutions.”
The Department of the Interior stated on Tuesday that its first proposal would seek to cut water to the Lower Basin states based on the seniority of the entities that receive water from the reservoirs. In other words… California would get water first and any left over would go to Arizona and Nevada. That is seen as untenable by the two states set to get water leftovers.
I have a feeling that study is somehow going to take something from us and give it to someone else.
— G Man (@GMan_333_) April 12, 2023
The plan would give water to about 500,000 acres of farmland in California’s Imperial Irrigation District. Supplies of water to Phoenix and Vegas would get short shrift and that could negatively impact millions in those cities.
The second proposal would result in even water supply reductions across the Lower Basin states regardless of seniority. That proposal would lead to less water for farmers in California that supply the county with a large share of the nation’s vegetables and fruits which could cause food shortages.
The Department of the Interior may not take any action, which at this point would be best given the snowpack levels, but it is the least likely option.
“Nevada has long been a leader in urban water efficiency, and our communities and citizens have a strong water conservation ethic,” Republican Nevada Gov. Joe Lombardo asserted in a statement given to Fox News Digital. “This is an important step in a multi-phased process to protect Lake Mead and put the Colorado River system on a more sustainable trajectory.”
“I have directed our Colorado River representatives to remain actively engaged with state and federal partners and to make every effort to find consensus and agreement on a negotiated path forward,” he added. “Each of the 40 million Americans that use the river deserves a reliable water supply, but it will take sacrifice from all of us to make that a reality.”
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