Colorado River’s future could be in this Biden nominee’s hands

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This Aug. 21, 2019 image shows Lake Powell near Page, Arizona. A plan by Utah could open the door to the state pursuing an expensive pipeline that critics say could further deplete the lake, which is a key indicator of the Colorado River’s health. (AP Photo/Susan Montoya Bryan)

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — President Joe Biden has nominated longtime water policy adviser Camille Touton to lead the agency that oversees water and power in the U.S. West.

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation commissioner will be a central figure in negotiations among several states over the future of the Colorado River.

Drought, climate change and demand have diminished the river that supplies 40 million people.

The agency is expected to mandate cuts for the first time in 2022.

Touton is a native of Nevada and previously served as the deputy assistant secretary for water and science in the Interior Department under the Obama administration.

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