/ Modified mar 10, 2021 10:12 a.m.

Western states chart diverging paths as water shortages loom

Drought and dwindling supply are creating stress on the western water-sharing system

Lake Powell hero

Legislation in Utah is raising concerns as seven Western states prepare to negotiate how to sustain a river that supplies 40 million people and a massive agricultural industry.

The states share in the realization that they likely won't get what they were promised from the Colorado River a century ago.

But legislation awaiting approval from Utah's governor creates an entity that could push for more of the state's share.

Critics say it could strengthen the effort to complete an expensive pipeline from a dwindling reservoir that’s a key indicator of the river’s health.

Meanwhile, states have conservation in mind as they pass laws focused on safeguarding other water supplies.

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