Colorado River Basin: The U.S. and Mexico are close to a deal to store water in Lake Mead #CORiver

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From the Las Vegas Review-Journal (Henry Brean):

The landmark five-year agreement would allow Mexico to store some of its annual Colorado River allotment in Lake Mead for future use.

It also clears the way for the U.S. government and several municipal water agencies, including the Southern Nevada Water Authority, to invest in infrastructure improvements in Mexico in return for a share of the water such projects would save.

It even includes provisions for restoring the flow of the Colorado River to the Gulf of California, albeit on a reduced, experimental scale.

“It’s a package that brings huge benefits to Mexico and huge benefits to the states on the Colorado River,” water authority general manager Pat Mulroy said.

“I think it can be a real game-changer on the river. Facilities in the U.S. will be used to benefit our neighbors, and they will become full partners on the system.”

Mexico was not included in recent pacts that spelled out how the seven U.S. states on the Colorado River divide surpluses in wet years and share shortages in dry ones. The nation now will be subject to the same criteria as the states, allowing Mexico for the first time to access additional water when it’s available but reduce its deliveries when it’s not…

The international agreement would allow Mexico to leave as much as 1.5 million acre-feet of water in Lake Mead over five years. That’s a one-year supply of Colorado River water for a nation that currently has no way to store much of its river allocation, Mulroy said…

In exchange for its $2.5 million investment in Mexican infrastructure, the water authority would get a one-time share of 23,700 acre-feet from the savings Mexico expects to see by lining its irrigation canals and upgrading the way crops are irrigated.

More Colorado River Basin coverage here and here.

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