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Feds want states to take the reigns of the Colorado River crisis, but will force a solution if one isn't found

The 2022 Colorado River Water Users Association conference is coming to a close. Here's what federal officials told state representatives.

LAS VEGAS — Editor's note: The above video aired during a previous broadcast.

States along the Colorado River had two days to share possible solutions and ongoing fears caused by the coming water crisis.

On the final day of the nation's largest water conference, the feds got their chance.

The 77th annual Colorado River Water Users Association (CRWUA) conference in Las Vegas wrapped up on Friday, but not before multiple federal officials had the chance to deliver last-minute remarks at the event’s “Federal Friday” event.


Here’s the final word from the 2022 CRWUA conference:

Federal Friday

"We want water users to take the lead here," Arizona Sen. Mark Kelly said to kick off the final panel. "Washington wants the basin to find a solution."

The message was delivered to a room full of state representatives anticipating the Bureau of Reclamation to soon put strict water cuts into place, a move that would cripple current water allocations across the basin.

Kelly's message was shared by Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Camille C. Touton. Federal officials seem to want nothing more than for states to find their own solutions, but emphasized that if no solution is brought forward by the end of January, the federal government would force restrictions on them.

"We are protecting people, and we are taking the necessary steps to make sure the 40 million people who depend on the Colorado River for their lives are kept safe," Touton said.

Along with being the 100-year anniversary of the Colorado River Compact, 2022 also marks the 200-year anniversary of U.S./Mexico relations. Mexico government officials joined in on calls for more diplomacy on river issues.

"We are well aware that we are facing an unprecedented situation, but we also want to reaffirm the importance of bi-national relations," Secretariat of Foreign Relations Boarder Affairs Director Pablo Galvez de Yturbe.

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