Clock Ticks Down on Colorado River Cuts. What Will Feds Do?

Western states that rely on the Colorado River Basin for their water supplies face a Tuesday deadline to tell the Bureau of Reclamation how they plan to cut back during the crushing drought that has shrunk the river. But as that date nears, the consequences for failure remain a key unknown.

Reclamation Commissioner Camille Touton announced in June that states in the Colorado River Basin need to propose how to conserve between 2 million and 4 million acre-feet of water before a mid-August deadline, when the agency releases its 24-month projections for water levels in lakes Powell and Mead.