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Arizona legislature passes Colorado River drought plan; Gov. expected to sign

Colorado River Lake Mead Hoover Dam
Posted at 5:04 PM, Jan 31, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-31 19:04:27-05

PHOENIX (AP) - The Arizona Senate has voted to join a seven-state Colorado River drought plan, and the state House was expected to follow suit.

The Senate overwhelmingly approved two measures to implement the drought plan on Thursday. The House gave preliminary approval and was scheduled for a final vote later in the day.

Arizona is the only state that requires legislative approval to join the agreement, which will require the states to take less water from the river in hopes of keeping major reservoirs from reaching catastrophically low levels.

The Arizona cutbacks would fall primarily on farmers. Securing approval for the plan required complex negotiations to help those farmers by providing money and alternative sources of water.

The Legislature's approval would be the final puzzle piece that avoids potentially more severe cutbacks imposed by the federal government.