/ Modified apr 16, 2019 4:30 p.m.

Trump Signs Colorado River Drought Contingency Plan

The president announced his approval following a bipartisan effort to move it through Congress.

Lake mead fortification hill Looking out on Boulder Basin, Lake Mead.
National Parks Service

President Trump on Tuesday tweeted he'd signed a drought contingency plan, impacting 40 million Colorado River water users in the West, a milestone following years of negotiations between the states and stakeholders in the river's water.

The drought contingency plan is supposed to help reduce water usage now and better deal with a shortage if it is declared.

The bipartisan bill passed the U.S. House and Senate earlier this month with no opposition. The president's tweet congratulated Republican U.S. Sen. Martha McSally for her efforts getting the bill through the Senate. Trump made no mention of Democratic U.S. Rep. Raúl Grijalva, who sponsored the bill in the House.


The Colorado River drought contingency plan aims to keep two key reservoirs from falling so low they cannot deliver water or produce hydropower. It was negotiated among the seven states that draw water from the river.

Mexico also agreed to store water in Lake Mead on the Arizona-Nevada border if the U.S. legislation was approved by April 22.

Arizona has the lowest-priority access to Colorado River water and will be hit hardest. The state negotiated a separate agreement to provide other water sources and new groundwater infrastructure for farmers between Phoenix and Tucson.


The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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