As negotiations between Colorado River basin states to protect the future of the river have stalled, Rep. Greg Stanton today called on the Biden Administration to “clearly and concisely lay out the actions it will take to reach the needed conservation absent a basin-wide agreement without delay.”

The letter follows yesterday’s announcement that the Colorado River will operate in a Tier 2a shortage condition in 2023–triggering additional mandatory cuts in Arizona. While the cuts were expected under the 2019 Drought Contingency Plan, they fall far short of the 2-to 4-million-acre feet of additional conservation that Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Camille Touton testified to Congress is necessary to avoid system collapse

“[Touton] pledged that if the basic states failed to reach an agreement about how to make these cuts, the agency was prepared to act. Yesterday’s announcement proved that commitment hollow,” Stanton wrote.

“The Department [of the Interior]’s failure to act as well as its failure to require all basin users to share the sacrifice to solve this crisis has created a significant state of uncertainty that pushes this delicate system closer to collapse. By continuing to kick the can down the road, the Department is doing a disservice to the system and endangering the southwest’s socioeconomic viability.

Read the full letter HERE.