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A dispute between two major California water agencies is threatening to derail a hard-won agreement designed to protect a river that serves 40 million people in the U.S. West.
The Imperial Irrigation District, the largest single recipient of Colorado River water, on Tuesday sued a Los Angeles water utility that agreed to contribute most of California's share of water to a key reservoir under a multistate drought contingency plan.
Action - Day - President - Donald - Trump
The action came the same day President Donald Trump approved federal legislation to implement the plan, which Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming spent years negotiating.
The agreement is meant to keep the country's two largest reservoirs on the Colorado River from dropping so low they cannot deliver water or produce hydropower amid prolonged drought and climate change.
Imperial - Irrigation - District - Drought - Plan
The Imperial Irrigation District said it wouldn't join the drought plan unless it secured $200 million in federal funding to address health and environmental hazards at the Salton Sea, a massive, briny lake southeast of Los Angeles.
The Metropolitan Water District, which serves Los Angeles, essentially wrote Imperial out of the drought plan to prevent delays in implementing it. It took on the amount of water that Imperial pledged to contribute to Lake Mead. With that, Metropolitan's contribution could top 2 million acre-feet through 2026 when the drought plan expires. An acre-foot is enough water to serve one to two average households a year.
Imperial - Lawsuit - Metropolitan - Water - District
Imperial's lawsuit claims the Metropolitan Water District sidestepped an environmental law.
"Where the water supply would come from and what environmental impacts could result from Metropolitan's need to acquire such water to fill this sizable hole in its water supply are entirely unknown," Imperial wrote in court documents filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court.
California - Law - State - Agencies - Effects
A California law requires state and local agencies to identify any potential environmental effects of their actions and address...
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