An Assembly committee on water took a crash course on a hundred years of Colorado River issues this week during an informational hearing.
Several speakers were optimistic about progress in negotiations with other basin states, especially California Natural Resources Secretary Wade Crowfoot. He wagged a finger at media for accentuating the conflicts and said productive conversations are happening with the lower basin states. Crowfoot was “confident we will find a shared solution.”
Yet the secretary reiterated his rebuke of a controversial proposal from six other states that would disproportionately cut California water.
“We have a great story to tell about California's water leadership,” he said. An agreement 20 years ago shifted 500,000 acre-feet from the Imperial Valley to San Diego, in turn financing water efficiency upgrades for farmers. Crowfoot added that California water agencies were the only ones to step up recently with voluntary cuts and have already begun to implement a 400,000 acre-foot reduction.

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“Doing nothing,” he said, “is mutually assured destruction.”
The snowpack along the Colorado has rebounded a bit—though not as much as California’s. That, combined with an influx of federal dollars, prevented the system from collapsing this year and bought more time for ironing out both short- and long-term agreements, according to panel speakers.