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A historic reduction in the availability of Colorado River water while more people covet it has brought together an unusual coalition interested in the river. Traditionally competitive and sometimes directly opposed to each other, they met this month to discuss the threat of loss of water to newer users. With a long-term drought tied to climate change and more demands on the water, the discussion is an excellent idea.

Meeting beside Hoover Dam were representatives of environmental groups, cities, small towns, agriculture and industry. And not just from Arizona. Representatives of other states were there, and it was obvious that California, with its high priority on Colorado River water, has agricultural interests that are not going away.

Ten people from different interests spoke at the press conference, and their main emphasis is that there should be no new dams or pipelines to take a share of water. With the extreme demands placed on a now-shrinking supply, that certainly makes sense.

Arizona already is part of the Drought Contingency Plan to deal with the dropping water levels that already exist, and that may have to be adjusted further. That, along with earlier agreements, are and will have a big impact on Pinal County agriculture. Crops using less water appear to be important to the future.

The new coalition gathering at Lake Mead has an important mission to protect their interests. Such a broad-based coalition also could lead to serious efforts to import new water to the Colorado system. That could come from rivers to the east or the ocean on the west or south. That would be a huge undertaking, but it looks quite possible given the stakes. Some Pinal County leaders have supported that idea, and now is a crucial time to give it more study. This area always will be part of a desert, but more and more people are choosing to live here, and having more water apparently will be necessary.

— Donovan Kramer Jr.

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