The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation has published a notice that would let Western governors weigh in on how to manage the shrinking Colorado River.
The public comment period will start March 4 unless all seven states that rely on the river approve drought contingency plans. Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman has said she prefers the states reach consensus, but the federal government will take over if that doesn't happen soon.
She called out Arizona and California last week as missing a previous deadline she set to complete drought plans. Water managers in those states say they're confident they'll get the work needed done.
The river serves 40 million people in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming.
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The notice was published Wednesday in the federal register.