FILE - In this July 28, 2014, file photo, lightning strikes over Lake Mead near Hoover Dam that impounds Colorado River water at the Lake Mead National Recreation Area in Arizona. A major southern California utility is positioning itself to shoulder the state's entire water contributions under a plan to preserve a key Western river. The Metropolitan Water District is voting Tuesday, March 12, 2019 on a proposal to take on the Imperial Irrigation District's share of water that would be stored behind Lake Mead. Seven Western states having been working for years on the Colorado River drought plan. (AP Photo/John Locher, File)

California water agencies fight over multistate drought plan

March 12, 2019 - 1:07 am

PHOENIX (AP) — A major Southern California water agency is positioning itself to shoulder the state's entire water contribution under a plan to preserve a key river in the U.S. West that serves 40 million people.

The Metropolitan Water District board is voting Tuesday on a proposal to essentially write out of a multistate drought plan another agency that gets more Colorado River water than anyone else.

The Imperial Irrigation District says it'll only provide water to keep a key reservoir from dropping to drastically low levels if U.S. officials commit $200 million to address a massive, briny lake southeast of Los Angeles.

Metropolitan says that effort shouldn't stall the drought plan and it can cover Imperial's contribution.

The U.S. government could impose its own rules for water going to California, Arizona and Nevada if seven states can't reach an agreement.

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