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AP: Public records show tensions leading to failed Colorado River negotiations

Failed state negotiations over the use of Colorado River water caused the federal government to step in and impose restrictions.

Emails obtained by the Associated Press show competing priorities and outsized demands stymied a deal.

The emails obtained through a public records request shows a desire to reach consensus, but persistent disagreement remained over how much each state should give.

Much of the communication obtained was between water officials in Arizona and California, which are the biggest users in the river’s Lower Basin. 

The Bureau of Reclamation wanted the seven states that rely on the river to decide how to cut 2 million-4 million acre feet of water.

The states face a Jan. 31 deadline to come up with a plan to cut Colorado River use, or see similar restrictions be imposed by the federal government.

Greg Hahne started as a news intern at KJZZ in 2020 and returned as a field correspondent in 2021. He learned his love for radio by joining Arizona State University's Blaze Radio, where he worked on the production team.