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Sinema’s last-minute push on Democrats’ climate bill added $4 billion to combat Western drought

Last-minute tweaks to Democrats’ healthcare and climate bill added $4 billion to address the drought and water crisis along the Colorado River.

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A large portion of the nation’s winter vegetables, as well as hay for cattle and other crops, are produced by farmers in the Imperial Valley and Yuma.

A little over 75% of the water is used for agriculture in the three states that make up the river’s Lower Basin: California, Arizona, and Nevada.

Porter stated that some producers in the Imperial Valley have requested a larger amount, while farmers in Yuma have suggested receiving $1,500 per acre-foot of water for each year they temporarily forego. However, at those costs, $4 billion over the following four years would be insufficient to reach the federal government’s reduction target.

The cost will need to be more amenable to negotiation “said Porter. “And the final cost most likely won’t exceed $1,500 per acre-foot.

Porter toured Hoover Dam with Sinema and water officials on Monday. She claimed that there are still long-term concerns on how to balance the supply and demand for water.

Four years of compensated conservation may be able to pull us out of this crisis, but Porter insisted that it won’t provide a long-term solution. We need to find a method to use the Colorado River for less of our water needs.

The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California’s managers are likewise thinking about how to participate in cuts.

MWD General Manager Adel Hagekhalil stated that the district’s representatives worked on the bill’s language with Padilla and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), ensuring that some funding would be made available to support conservation initiatives in urban areas, such as cash rebates for property owners who remove grass.

James reported from Phoenix, and Haberkorn from Washington.

This article first appeared in the Los Angeles Times.