President Trump has signed legislation for the multistate Drought Contingency Plan to deal with future shortage on the Colorado River, although a legal challenge is pending. The fact that Arizonans — and residents in other states — worked out the plan is commendable. But because of longstanding legislation and agreements, Arizona stands to lose much, and a large part of the burden falls on farms in Pinal County.
Despite more precipitation in recent months, a shortage is likely in our future, which would trigger cuts. The fact that an agreement was worked out does not remove the impact on farms and the area economy.
The Gila River Indian Community, which has a large right to Colorado River water, is a major player in the agreement because it has the ability to let users off the reservation have some of the water temporarily. The tribe deserves credit for its role.
Farmers are still hoping that groundwater can fill a void, at least for a while. Where that leads is unknown at this time. Either way, agriculture faces major cuts in the future following the 2004 federal settlement of Indian claims and accompanying debt relief for the farmers.
Arizona still has substantial water for municipal use, although the future may mean a serious effort to import some over a distance. That appears possible with modern technology. In the meantime, more conservation measures — and political discussions — certainly are coming.