The pact divides the river basin into two zones, the Upper Division (including Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming) and the Lower Division (Nevada, Arizona and California). The pact requires the states to ensure that the river flow is no less than 9.3 km3 under 7,500,000 acre feet (9.3 km3) for ten consecutive years. Based on the precipitation patterns observed in the years leading up to the signing of the treaty in 1922, it was assumed that the amount indicated in the pact allowed for roughly equal distribution of water between the two regions. States within each basin had to divide their share of 7.5 million feet of acre per year (293 cubic metres per second) steeply. The pact allowed large-scale irrigation of the Southwest and the subsequent development of government and federal water construction projects under the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. These projects included the Hoover Dam and Lake Powell. Harris said in an interview this week that it would be premature to comment on a deal to remove the legal right for California and other states to « scream » more water in dry periods. However, he acknowledged that global warming is reducing water in the river. The gathering is expected to shed light on the looming crisis on the Colorado River, where storage is at record levels, demand is increasing and warmer temperatures in a 19-year drought are shaping the darkest future for a river that irrigates 40 million people in a 244,000-square-mile basin. « We did reach an agreement on the sharing of pain, » Babbitt said earlier this month at a weekend meeting of Colorado River scientists and journalists organized by the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy.
In 2017, the Lincoln Institute established the Babbitt Center for Land and Water Policy to guide and orchestrate water-based decisions in states along the Colorado River. The enormous international importance of the signing of the CPD concealed an agreement as monumental for Arizona as the signing of the DCP itself: the successful efforts in Arizona to reach consensus on how to share the burden of a possible reduction in water supply related to the DCP. « Any kind of big idea, someone will perceive a threat and oppose it just because they think they will be hurt. This makes it easier to talk about « incrementalism, » especially from a federal or state perspective, he said. « But at the end of the day, we look at a river that could change its shape much faster than we ever imagined.