SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California water agencies that rely on the parched Colorado River said Wednesday they can reduce their use by one-tenth starting in 2023 in response to calls for cuts from the federal government.
The agencies, which supply water to farmers and millions of people in Southern California, laid out their proposal in a letter to the U.S. Department of the Interior. It comes as drought continues to diminish the river, and months after the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation first called on users to voluntarily limit their reliance on it.
California shares the river's water with six other states, tribes and Mexico. It has rights to the single largest share and is water in times of shortage.
The proposal to cut 400,000 acre feet annually marks the first time California water agencies are publicly and formally indicating what they're willing to give up since federal officials demanded major cuts this summer. California has been under pressure from other states to figure out how to use less as river reservoirs drop so low they risk losing the ability to generate hydropower and deliver water.