Biden officials pledge ‘robust’ state talks on Colorado River

By Jennifer Yachnin | 03/05/2024 04:38 PM EST

The comments came Tuesday after state officials acknowledged that negotiations have broken down about how to move forward with drought response.

The tall bleached "bathtub ring" on the rocky banks of Lake Powell.

The tall bleached "bathtub ring" is visible on the rocky banks of Lake Powell on June 24, 2021, in Page, Arizona. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Biden administration officials Tuesday dismissed concerns about stalled negotiations over how to share the drought-stricken Colorado River, saying they expect all seven states to end up eventually agreeing to a long-term plan for divvying up cuts.

Acting Deputy Interior Secretary Laura Daniel-Davis said the Biden administration would pursue “robust” negotiations among the seven Colorado River states, with an agreement expected by the end of the year that spells out cuts starting after 2026.

“We are not expecting every single issue to be smoothed out between the Upper and Lower basins tomorrow,” Daniel-Davis said. “But the reality is that everyone is saying the same thing, ‘We are all committed to a basinwide solution.'”


In the past week, officials with the states have acknowledged that they’ve split over how to share the pain of using less water from the 1,450-mile-long river over the next two decades. The states from the Upper Basin — New Mexico, Colorado, Utah and Wyoming — are expected to soon send their own plan to the Bureau of Reclamation on how to make cuts, while the Lower Basin states — Nevada, Arizona and California — will do the same.