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New water agreement calls for more cuts in Arizona

A new water agreement signed this week calls for even more cuts to Arizona's water.

PHOENIX — A stop-gap water agreement signed this week will cut even more water from Arizona, California and Nevada. 

The agreement, called the 500+ Plan, will find ways to cut 500,000 acre-feet of water from the three states. Arizona will take the biggest brunt of those cuts. 

The amount of water that will be cut throughout the three drought states is enough to serve 1 million to 1.5 million households for a year. 

The agreement calls for a variety of ways to conserve. The plan includes conservation measures including the improvement on the transmission of water. 

Improvement can be done by doing things like lining canals to reduce water seepage into the ground. 

RELATED: 'Huge dose of realism': Why Arizona needs to move faster to shore up water supply - and why you'll be paying for it

Credit: KPNX

The other way to conserve water involves paying money for people to not use it. A total of $200 million will be spent between the states, the federal government and water companies. 

Some of that money will be spent to pay people not to use water for farming. 

"A lot of it is funding that is going towards paying people to not take water," ASU Professor of Water Law Rhett Larson said. "So farmers fallow their land, or agreeing to not irrigate certain fields during certain years."

RELATED: No, closing Arizona's golf courses would not alleviate the coming water shortage

The amount of water in the Colorado River system has been dropping much faster than anticipated. Negotiations of the next major water agreement that is scheduled to go into effect in 2026 were supposed to start in Las Vegas this week. It's a process that usually takes years.

Instead, the 500+ Plan was signed into effect after only a few months of negotiations. 

The 500+ Plan only lasts for two years, starting in 2022. After that, the current water agreement that expires in 2026 will return. 

RELATED: Dry farmland and a defunct resort; the repercussions of Lake Mead's water shortage

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