A bill that would authorize the federal government to enact a drought plan for Colorado River basin states in times of shortage has passed Congress and is on its way to the White House for the president's signature.
Rep. Raúl Grijalva, D-Ariz., and Sen. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., fast-tracked the measure, clearing a final hurdle for the drought plan, a product of years of long and complicated negotiations that crossed state and party lines.
When enacted, the plan will spread the effects of expected cutbacks on the river and protect the levels of Lake Mead and Lake Powell, the river's two largest reservoirs. Its aim is to protect water users from deep losses and keep the reservoirs and river healthy.
"The Colorado River is dissipating," Grijalva told The Arizona Republic.
"There's more demand from people and industries that depend on it. So how do we do that for the long-term? That's the task ahead," he said.