Trump signs measure to finalize drought plan

    Lake Mead. Photo by lovz2hike | Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

    President Donald Trump on Tuesday signed a bill that finalizes the seven-state drought contingency plan.

    Trump took to Twitter to announce the finalization of the plan and thanked Sen. Martha McSally for “getting it done,” adding that it’s a “big deal” for Arizona.

    McSally sponsored a measure last week that was a mirror to one presented in the house by Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Tucson.

    Gov. Doug Ducey also took to Twitter to congratulate both Grijalva and McSally, and to thank Trump for signing the measure into law.

    This is GREAT NEWS and a crucial action that moves DCP one step closer to full implementation,” Ducey said on Twitter.

    Grijalva and McSally’s resolutions were in part a response to a bill backed by the Bureau of Land Reclamation that would authorize the DCP with modified terms that many of the stakeholders disagree with.

    The measure that Trump signed will make the federal government enact the plans that were worked out between the seven states: Arizona, Utah, Nevada, Colorado, Wyoming, California and New Mexico. Mexico is also a part of the DCP.

    “Shortage on the river is imminent, but we can avoid catastrophe with measures like the DCP,” Jennifer Pitt, Audubon’s Colorado River Program Director, said in a statement on the passage of the measure.

    “Now comes the hard work of implementing the DCP in each state,” Kevin Moran, Senior Director for the Colorado River Program at Environmental Defense Fund, said in a statement. “We look forward to continuing to partner with the basin states, farmers, cities, water agencies, tribes and businesses to drive implementation forward.”

    However, the DCP is not contention-free, as the Imperial Irrigation District in California has yet to sign onto the plan. The IID represents the Salton Sea, California’s largest lake which has been decreasing at a rapid rate, about a foot and a half per year, according to some reports.

    The declining water levels has led to poor air quality in the area because of dust. Nearly 650,000 people are affected, according to the Pacific Institute.

    Gov. Doug Ducey’s 2020 budget includes a $30 million in additional funding for conservation efforts for Lake Mead which is 42 percent full as of April 8 and 1,090 feet above sea level, a 7 percent increase from January. Once the lake dips below 1,075 feet above sea level, the federal government will intervene and declare an official shortage.

    Jerod MacDonald-Evoy
    Reporter Jerod MacDonald-Evoy joins the Arizona Mirror from the Arizona Republic, where he spent 4 years covering everything from dark money in politics to Catholic priest sexual abuse scandals. Jerod has also won awards for his documentary films which have covered issues such as religious tolerance and surveillance technology used by police. He brings strong watchdog sensibilities and creative storytelling skills to the Arizona Mirror.


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