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Colorado River water users discuss the future of the river

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Posted at 9:33 PM, Dec 15, 2022

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Concerns continue to grow about the future of water in the West; that is one message coming out of the Colorado River Water Users Association Conference happening right now at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.

Thursday representatives from agencies in the seven states that take water from the Colorado River took the stage for a panel discussion.

The panel looked at what the next 100 years could look like for the river.

From increasing water rates for customers to making agricultural water use more efficient, several possible solutions to cut water use were discussed.

“We need to reboot the way we are thinking about this, and really start thinking about this as a national emergency and something that needs to be invested in,” says Southern Nevada Water Authority general manager John Entsminger.

The Director of the Colorado Water Conservation Board, Rebecca Miller, says more cuts need to happen in states that use the most water.

“We have to see real reductions in uses below Mead, that is where the real problem is, we know that,” says Rebecca Mitchell.

Gene Shawcroft is the Colorado River Commissioner for the state of Utah; he says more efficient use of agricultural water is just one solution.

The value of water, the price of water, whether it is in the municipal arena or the AG arena, no doubt will go up,” says Gene Shawcroft.

The panel agreed, something needs to happen soon.

“We can not cling to our entitlements or allocations. If they are not there, none of that matters,” says Mitchell.

Representatives from the Bureau of Reclamation and the Department of Interior are expected to speak Friday.