More cuts, sooner, under Lower Colorado deal taking shape

Looks like significant progress toward an Arizona-California deal to slow Lake Mead’s decline, according to a story from the Arizona Daily Star’s Tony Davis:

Arizona, California and Nevada negotiators are moving toward a major agreement triggering cuts in Colorado River water deliveries to Southern and Central Arizona to avert much more severe cuts in the future.

Details still sketchy, with final negotiations still ongoing, but according to Tony’s story, a couple of very important points stand out on which there seems to be general agreement:

  • Arizona would take cuts in Colorado River water sooner – as early as 2017, rather than 2018 under the current operating rules
  • California, which under the current rules wouldn’t have to take any cuts until Arizona’s Central Arizona Project supplies drop to zero, would agree to take some cuts if Mead drops below a trigger 30 feet below current elevation
  • Arizona will spread cuts more broadly among that states users, rather than the current scheme under which ag takes the hit

This will need Arizona legislative approval, according to Tony, which should be interesting given that state’s belligerent tone toward California over these issues.

The whole story is worth a read.