At a time when concerns over the water levels of the Colorado are ever-increasing, this month saw the approval by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California of the Colorado River Drought Plan. They join Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming in approving a plan to share the necessary reductions in water take should the level of water at Lakes Mead and Powell fall below a certain level.
Although a large percentage of water comes from the Colorado River, San Diego seems secure in their share of water, likely a result of Arizona vs. California (1968), which determined that California holds senior water right priority over Nevada and Arizona. The state receives the most out of all seven states supported by the Colorado River at ”more than a quarter of the river’s average annual flow”; however, under the drought plan, “Metropolitan and other California districts would reduce their diversions earlier in a shortage than they would if the lower-basin states strictly followed established water rights.”
Although the federal government has pressured the seven basin states to finalize the plan this year, some water agencies have yet to weigh in. The biggest impediment is Arizona which must resolve disputes as to how the reductions would take affect before the state legislature meets to vote on it in January, making completion this year impossible. Additionally, Congress must also approve the plan due to the scope of the plan.
Although San Diego and the state of California will have rights to a certain amount of the river’s water, the uncertainty of the river’s future makes it clear that other alternatives must be explored and adopted because a share of zero is zero.
 “Water Supply and Water Rights.” Background, Central Arizona Project, 2018, www.cap-az.com/departments/planning/colorado-river-programs/water-supply-and-water-rights.
 Boxall, Bettina. “Metropolitan Water District Approves Colorado River Shortage Plan.” Sandiegouniontribune.com, 12 Dec. 2018, www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/california/la-me-colorado-shortage-20181211-story.html.