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Nevada leaders call for increased federal involvement in Colorado River water usage

Lake Mead
Posted at 9:06 PM, Aug 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-24 00:34:12-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — At a Nevada Conservation League town Hall Tuesday, officials warned Colorado River use would continue to be a key issue for people living in and around the desert southwest for decades to come.

Leaders in Southern Nevada continued to push for all seven Colorado River basin states to increase their level of water conservation.

"Las Vegas is globally known for urban water conservation," said John Entsminger, Southern Nevada Water Authority general manager, "so I'm ready to take the Pepsi challenge against anybody ready to compare notes."

Entsminger said while Nevada has been ahead of the curve over two decades of conservation efforts, other basin states have had spotty and insufficient efforts.

"This is an incredibly serious situation."

The Department of Interior, responsible for the preservation and protection of U.S. lands, called for steep water use cuts from Nevada and Arizona in a press conference last week but left the five other participants along after all states failed to come to their own agreement.

The Bureau of Reclamation had given the states 60 days to come to an agreement, but negotiations faltered.

Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, (D) Nevada, said years of preparation placed Nevada's current water use well below the new lower allocation.

"Those restrictions don't impact us," she said, "but we have to be prepared for the future."

Cortez Masto demanded the federal government do more over the weekend telling the Bureau of Reclamation to build a clear plan for the distribution of $4,000,000,000 in drought relief funding passed in the Inflammation Reduction Act.

Masto said states who've already shown the will to cut back their water usage and prove it should receive funding priority.

"Because every basin state now has to be a part of this," she said, "and the administration at the Bureau of Reclamation, who is the enforcer of water along the Colorado, should be enforcing that."

Cortez Masto gave the Bureau of Reclamation 90 days to present a plan for distributing drought relief funds.