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Colorado River negotiators say they need more time, as Biden administration wants deal by election

The policymakers working on a new management plan for the Colorado River say they need more time to bridge disagreements about how to share its water.

State negotiators from Wyoming to California are under pressure to agree on new guidelines for managing the river. The current rules expire in 2026, but state leaders disagree about who should bear the brunt of cutbacks to water demand. At a meeting this week in Colorado, John Entsminger, who manages water in Nevada, says those hard decisions probably won’t come soon.

"When people talk about, you know, we missed deadlines, or we're at an impasse … we're 30 months out, you know, we're very much in the second or third inning of this baseball game that we're playing here," Entsminger said.

The Biden administration wants to see the states compromise before the November election. Federal water officials said this week they’ll spend $700 million on water conservation that could help buy time for more permanent river-sharing rules.