The Stream, April 18: Colorado Drought Plan Hit by Lawsuit Just As Trump Signs Off

The Global Rundown

California’s Imperial Irrigation District sues over its exclusion from the Colorado River drought contingency plan just as President Donald Trump signs off on it. Farmers suicides are on the rise in India’s drought-stricken Maharashtra state. States provide mixed feedback during a public comment period on revisions to the Water of the United States (WOTUS) rule. Flooding in Iran forces the closure of a dozen oil wells. Flint, Michigan, receives a remaining $77.7 million in federal funding for water infrastructure projects.

“The logic in going forward without IID was that the (drought plan) couldn’t wait for the Salton Sea. This legal challenge is going to put that logic to the test and the focus will now be where it should have been all along — at the Salton Sea.” –Henry Martinez, general manager of California’s Imperial Irrigation District, in reference to a petition against the Colorado River drought contingency plan. The seven Colorado Basin states recently finalized the plan after months of deliberation, and it has since been approved by Congress and President Trump. The plan excluded the IID, however, after the district demanded that the plan include federal funding for restoring the Salton Sea. The IID holds some of the oldest and largest rights to the Colorado River, and is demanding further environmental review of the plan. The Desert Sun

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By The Numbers

12,602 Farmer suicides in India in 2015, the last year data was released. The state of Maharashtra accounted for a large portion of the deaths, and a three-year drought has further exacerbated the issue. Widows and other distressed residents are calling on government officials for help in alleviating the state’s recurrent droughts. Bloomberg

$77.7 million Amount of federal funding released to Flint, Michigan, for water infrastructure improvements. The funds are part of a $120 million loan granted to the city in 2017. The first part of the funding was used to improve pipelines, pump stations, water meters, and water quality monitoring. MLive

In context: Circle of Blue’s coverage of the Flint water crisis.

Science, Studies, and Reports

The public comment period for an EPA proposal on minimizing protections under the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule ended on Monday. States were divided in their reaction to the proposal–fourteen states and the District of Columbia argued that the changes would end federal protection of half of wetlands across the country, while another 17-state group said the changes would provide relief for farmers and foster economic growth. Reuters

On the Radar

Iran shut down 10 to 12 oil wells in the flood-hit Khuzestan province on Wednesday, according to local media, causing daily crude oil output to drop by 15,000 to 20,000 barrels per day. Iran is enduring its worst flooding in decades and has sustained an estimated $2.5 billion in damages. Reuters

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