Nev., Ariz. put Colorado River deal on hold

Posted: Apr 22, 2013

Written by

Henry Brean, Las Vegas Review-Journal/GW
Colorado River

The Southern Nevada Water Authority yesterday voted to put its banking agreement for Colorado River water in the Grand Canyon on hold.

In 2005, Arizona agreed to sell part of its Colorado River allocation to Nevada, supplying the Las Vegas region with 1.25 million acre-feet of water through 2060. The deal was worth more than $300 million.

Since the deal went into effect, Nevada has managed to store 650,000 acre-feet, so the need for water is no longer as pressing, Authority Deputy General Manager John Entsminger said. By putting the agreement on hold, Nevada can forgo $217 million in payments while Arizona can keep about 600,000 acre-feet of river water.

Arizona's water officials have signed off on changes to the banking agreement, Entsminger said.

Virginia O'Connell, manager of the Arizona Water Banking Authority, said the changes to the agreement give the two states more flexibility.

"The amendment removes the obligation to store a specific amount by a specific deadline," she said in an email.

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