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Mark Gongloff

The Colorado River Needs the Feds to Step In ASAP

The Biden administration should make good on its threat to force consumption cuts on the region to preserve its water supply during a decades-long drought.

Approaching dead pool status.

Approaching dead pool status.

Photographer: Robyn Beck/AFP

Authorities along the Colorado River are like tenants in a burning apartment building arguing over whether they should move their plants off the fire escape, while the fire department waits. Nobody is displaying the necessary urgency about the situation — and tragedy looms.

The seven states that get water from the Colorado system missed a Tuesday deadline to agree to deep cuts in their water usage or face having those cuts imposed on them by the federal government. There’s nothing less at stake than the future of civilization in the western US.