Headline RoundupMay 22nd, 2023

Seven States Reach Deal to Conserve Water in Colorado River Basin

AllSides Summary

Seven states that rely on the imperiled Colorado River Basin for drinking water, energy, agriculture, and more agreed to a conservation deal through 2026.

Key Quotes: In a statement released Monday, Department of the Interior Secretary Deb Haaland called the deal “a testament to the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to working with states, Tribes and communities throughout the West to find consensus solutions in the face of climate change and sustained drought.” Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Camille Calimlim Touton said the deal is an “important step forward toward our shared goal of forging a sustainable path for the basin that millions of people call home.”

Details: The basin provides drinking water for 44 million Americans and irrigates 5.5 million acres of farmland. Population growth and drought resulted in the river basin lowering to levels that concerned federal officials and conservationists. Under the terms of the deal, Arizona, California and Nevada agree to take less water from the basin, but the specifics of each states’ cuts will be determined later. In exchange for temporary cuts, the agreement calls on the federal government to pay $1.2 billion to regions, cities, and Native American tribes included in the cuts. This money will reportedly come from grants included in the Inflation Reduction Act. 

How The Media Covered It: Outlets across the spectrum covered the announcement of the deal. Left-rated outlets drew more connections between the river basin drought and climate change, while right-rated outlets typically only mentioned climate change in quotes included in coverage.

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