Governor Gordon commends completion of Colorado River Drought Contingency Plan
CHEYENNE, Wyo. – Governor Mark Gordon applauded an historic water shortage sharing agreement Monday as Wyoming joined six other Western States in the signing of the Colorado River Drought Contingency Plan.
Former State Engineer Pat Tyrell represented Wyoming at the ceremony at the Hoover Dam in Nevada, signing the plan on behalf of the State of Wyoming. The ceremony concludes years of collaborative efforts to reduce the risk of the Colorado River’s primary reservoirs from hitting critically low levels. The plan is a blueprint for Colorado River Basin States to share in water shortages built around water levels in Lake Mead and Lake Powell. The reservoirs located on the Arizona-Nevada and Arizona-Utah borders, respectively, serve as important triggers for water delivery requirements under the Colorado River Compact. Both water bodies have sunk to near-record low levels after two decades of drought.
The plan bolsters Wyoming’s ability to maintain and develop its water uses in the Green and Little Snake River basins while also satisfying its Colorado River Compact obligations. Wyoming benefits greatly from participating in the decision-making that influences operations affecting water use and supply all along the Colorado River. Governor Gordon noted the Drought Contingency Plan is a model for how states and water professionals can come together and provide sensible, consensus-based solutions.
“I applaud the hard work of the state and federal negotiating teams in reaching this historic milestone, and the speed in which Congress, encouraged by Wyoming’s delegation, passed the necessary federal legislation,” Governor Gordon said. F
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Western legislators led by Reps. Suzan DelBene, D-Wash., and Dan Newhouse, R-Wash., wrote to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Tuesday, urging USDA to provide additional relief to farmers and ranchers impacted by historic drought.