U.S. and Mexico may be at odds, but they've reached agreement on managing the Colorado River

The United States and Mexico expanded a long-term agreement Wednesday that will allow both nations to continue using the Colorado River while also pushing more conservation efforts to ensure that water is available during droughts.

The nine-year deal, which expands on a 1944 water treaty between the two countries, would see the United States spend $31.5 million on conservation efforts in Mexico, according to water agencies that are familiar with the plan. That effort would, in turn, generate access to more water for about 27 million people in several states, including California, Nevada and Arizona.

It would also guarantee that Mexico and the United States would shoulder water supply cutbacks in the event of low water levels in the Colorado River and Lake Mead during droughts.

The signing of the agreement in Santa Fe, N.M., was led by the International Boundary and Water Commission. The agency is responsible for overseeing water treaties between the United States and Mexico and is composed of representatives from both countries.

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