LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Two U.S. representatives responsible for the agreement between Nevada, California and Arizona visited Lake Mead Friday to publicize that pact. Announced Monday, those three lower basin states pledged to cut their water usage by 3 million acre-feet, or about 20% of the total water used from the river.

Rep. Susie Lee (D-Nevada) and Rep. David Valadao (R-CA) told a group of reporters and photographers that Valadao was visiting Southern Nevada to familiarize himself with the district. However, when pressed for details on the water conservation agreement, officials were unable to offer any specifics on their strategy to accomplish that measure, except to say they would be offering financial incentives to farmers and other big water users who have not to date volunteered to increase their efforts conserve any more of the waning Colorado River supply.

The agreement is a response to last month’s announcement by the Bureau of Reclamation that the federal government would intervene and seek the public’s input on how all seven states that rely on Colorado River water would move forward with their conservation efforts since the states failed to renew their century-old pact.

Many of the provisions from that agreement expire in 2026. Reclamation has temporarily suspended its intervention but still needs to approve the states’ compact.

“What this agreement does is buy us three and a half years,” Lee said from an overlook high above Lake Mead. “We are still in the middle of a drought even though we had an incredible snow-packed year. As you can see lake mead is still at thirty percent of its capacity and so our hope is during this interim we can come to an agreement on using water more efficiently.”

8 News Now reported on Monday that the proposal calls for the majority of the water savings – 2.3 million acre-feet — will be saved by compensating Native American tribes and some irrigation districts with money from the Inflation Reduction Act to use less water. The rest of the water savings will come from Nevada, Arizona, and California. An acre-foot of water is roughly enough to serve two to three U.S. households annually.

Nevada is on pace to use 210,000 acre-feet this year, which is well below the state’s drought-adjusted allotment. If the state stays on that pace, usage will be down about 14,000 acre-feet compared to 2022.