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After months of tense negotiation, a half-dozen states have reached an agreement to drastically cut their water usage and stabilize the drought-stricken Colorado River — as long as California doesn’t blow up the deal. The plan, which was developed without the input of Mexico or Native American tribes that rely on the river, seeks to stave off total collapse in the river for another few years, giving water users time to find a comprehensive solution for the chronically-depleted waterway. 

On Monday, six out of the seven states that rely on the Colorado announced their support for steep emergency cuts totaling more than 2 million acre-feet of water, or roughly a quarter of annual usage from the river. The multi-state agreement, prodded into existence by the Biden administration’s threats to impose its own cuts, will likely serve as a blueprint for the federal government as it manages the river over the next four years, ushering in a new era of conservation in the drought-wracked Southwest. While the exact consequences of these massive cuts are still largely uncertain, they will almost certainly spell d... Read more

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