The board of directors of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California voted unanimously Tuesday to contribute additional water to Lake Mead. The decision advances the Drought Contingency Plan (DCP) – an agreement negotiated among the states that rely on the Colorado River to prevent the river’s two largest reservoirs, Lake Mead and Lake Powell, from reaching critically low levels. Metropolitan’s board approved the DCP in December and the plan has broad support from the federal government, other Colorado River Basin states, water agencies and the environmental community. However, the decision was made over objections from the Imperial Irrigation District, which holds rights to the biggest allocation of Colorado river water. The Imperial Irrigation District has refused to sign – insisting that the federal government provides $200 million for restoration of the Salton Sea. “This agreement is far too important to give up now. Seven states have worked together for years to reach this compromise and ensure a reliable water supply for the 40 million people and 5 million acres of farmland that rely on the Colorado River,” Metropolitan General Manager Jeffrey Kightlinger said. “There is a lot of work yet to be done to negotiate long-term solutions for the river’s sustainability, but this agreement provides a bridge of stability for the next eight years.” The plan can now move to Congress, which must approve the multi-state agreement before it takes effect.

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