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Arizona County Could Upend the Southwest’s Drought Plan

New federal estimates suggest serious water shortages on the Colorado River are closer than thought. While Arizona water users try to cooperate on a conservation fix, one group of farmers stands in the way of a compromise.

Serious water shortages on the Colorado River could be less than two years away, according to new federal estimates. Yet after 19 years of drought, just 500 farmers in one Arizona county may decide the fate of the entire Southwest: By holding tight to their own temporary water supply, they could stall a conservation plan designed to save the entire region from water shortages.

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