/ Modified may 21, 2019 10:17 a.m.

Western states sign historic agreement to deal with drought

The drought contingency plan has been years in the making.

John Entsminger VIEW LARGER John Entsminger, general manager of the Southern Nevada Water Authority, signs the drought contingency plan on behalf of Nevada at the Hoover Dam Monday, May 20.
Rachel Christiansen/KNPR

Representatives from seven states along with federal water managers met at the Hoover Dam Monday to sign a historic agreement on how to deal with the ongoing drought in the West.

The drought contingency plan has been years in the making — and it's not been an easy road. Negotiations were difficult, especially for the states who will have to cut back their use of this most precious resource.

The plan addresses what will happen should Lake Mead fall to an elevation of 1,075 feet above sea level. The reservoir has been hovering just above that level for the last several years. If that happens, a federal shortage will be declared for the first time ever.

Federal water managers have estimated that could happen as soon as 2020. If it does, the DCP dictates how the states will cope. In a nutshell, states will have to use less water. Some will lose more than others. But the plan addresses how to keep Lake Mead and Lake Powell — the river's largest reservoirs — from falling even further.

By posting comments, you agree to our
AZPM encourages comments, but comments that contain profanity, unrelated information, threats, libel, defamatory statements, obscenities, pornography or that violate the law are not allowed. Comments that promote commercial products or services are not allowed. Comments in violation of this policy will be removed. Continued posting of comments that violate this policy will result in the commenter being banned from the site.

By submitting your comments, you hereby give AZPM the right to post your comments and potentially use them in any other form of media operated by this institution.
AZPM is a service of the University of Arizona and our broadcast stations are licensed to the Arizona Board of Regents who hold the trademarks for Arizona Public Media and AZPM. We respectfully acknowledge the University of Arizona is on the land and territories of Indigenous peoples.
The University of Arizona