/ Modified feb 1, 2019 5:03 p.m.

Not So Fast on the Drought Plan: State and Feds Disagree

Federal officials said Arizona did not make the deadline.

Low reservoirs A narrow passageway allows boats to pass on the northern edge of Antelope Island in Lake Powell, one of the Colorado River's main reservoirs.
Luke Runyon/KUNC/LightHawk

Arizona and officials with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation disagree over whether or not the state made the federally imposed Thursday deadline to complete the Drought Contingency Plan.

The Legislature passed the necessary bill Thursday afternoon, and Gov. Doug Ducey signed it about six hours before the deadline.

But Friday, Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman said Arizona and California missed the deadline.

The governor's office quickly pointed out that Burman had congratulated Arizona on passing the bill.

A spokesperson for bureau said though the legislation was passed the agreements were not signed. Therefore, she said the deadline was missed.

That missed deadline triggered the bureau to post in the Federal Register that the agency will take comment from the seven Colorado River state governors and others on a plan beginning March 4.

That process will be stopped if Arizona and California get the necessary signatures before the comment period begins.

A spokesman for Ducey said the signatures are "a formality," and the state is ready to go forward.

He also said some private entities are still signing parts of the water deal in Arizona.

Arizona is one of seven states that gets much of its drinking and agricultural water from the Colorado River.

The river is at historic lows and if water usage is not reduced cuts to the amount of water each state receives will begin.

Arizona is what is known as a "junior partner" on the river, which means it takes the cuts first.

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