January 12, 2008--New reservoir to catch Colorado River flowing unused into Mexico (Denver Post)

Arizona plans to invest nearly $30 million in a new reservoir at the end of the Colorado River to buy the state more water and added insurance against future shortages. The structure was included in the seven-state drought plan adopted last month. Nevada originally agreed to pay the full $172 million cost of the reservoir in return for access to more water but approached Arizona and California late last year about buying shares of the project. Arizona will receive a one-time water allocation of 100,000 acre-feet, or about 32.6 billion gallons. An acre-foot of water is the amount that would cover an acre to the depth of 1 foot, or 325,851 gallons. The reservoir will slow declining water levels at Lake Mead, delaying shortages that would take water away from Arizona. The deal also buys a measure of goodwill on the lower Colorado River. Nevada and California face more immediate needs and will benefit first from the water stored at the reservoir. Under the seven-state agreement, Arizona absorbs the largest share of any shortages. The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California is expected to buy an equal share in the reservoir for the same $28.7 million contribution. The district's board will consider the proposal in April. The Southern Nevada Water Authority will pay the remaining $115 million and will gain access to 400,000 acre-feet of water. The agency also will cover cost overruns in exchange for additional water.

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