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Horseshoe Bend of the Colorado River in Arizona, USA.

Horseshoe Bend of the Colorado River in Arizona, USA. | Photo credit: Charles Wang

May 24, 2023

Colorado River Deal: States Make Land On Agreement

Ask Students: Why is the Colorado River shrinking? What did states agree to in the new Colorado River agreement?


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The Biden administration reached a landmark deal with several western states to stave off an immediate crisis with the Colorado River and the communities that are dependent on it. Under the agreement, California, Arizona and Nevada will take less water from the drought-stricken river in exchange for federal funding for cities, tribes and water districts. 

For a transcript of this story, click here.

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Discussion Questions

  • Why is the Colorado River shrinking?
  • Who will receive the money from the exchange in the states?
  • How will the proposed cuts impact agriculture?
  • When will the managing guidelines expire?
  • What are some ways water will be restricted in some states?

Focus Questions

What do you think of the agreement? Do you think it will be beneficial? Why or why not?

Media Literacy: If you could, what would you ask the person that was interviewed, Luke Runyon from KUNC Public Radio, about the issue related to the Colorado River?

Republished with permission from PBS NewsHour Classroom.

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