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Western States Face the First Ever Water Cuts Due to Water Shortage in a Colorado River

Western States Face the First Ever Water Cuts Due to Water Shortage in a Colorado River

climate change causes drought

More than 40 million people living in the western part of the country face an acute shortage of water due to drought that caused water shortage in the popular Colorado River – Lake Mead. It has caused cuts to a few of the Arizona Farmers coming year as the water levels plummeted sharply in the largest reservoir on the river.

The water supply to states like Nevada, parts of Mexico, and Arizona will be impacted early next year as the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, an agency of the Interior Department, issued a formal shortage declaration in the river. The initial reduction in the water supply is expected to primarily the farmers and not the cities and households. However, it is said that, if the shortage of water worsens in the reservoirs, then cities like Las Vegas, Phoenix, Arizona, and others might also face the issue.

“Like much of the West and across our connected basins, the Colorado River is facing unprecedented and accelerating challenges,” Assistant Interior Secretary Tanya Trujillo said. Experts suggested that a combination of seasonal rainfall patterns and human-driven climate change is the cause of the unprecedented shortage, especially in Lake Mead and throughout the Colorado River system, ever.

John Entsminger, who manages the Southern Nevada Water Authority, said his region will be able to easily absorb the initial cuts because of steps that were undertaken to reduce water demand, including cracking down on water-intensive landscaping. He described the situation as “extremely serious but not apocalyptic.”

“We have a plan for that worst-case scenario right now. We’ve planned for the very bad,” Entsminger said. “We have not planned for the absolute worst.”

“We’re at a moment where we’re reckoning with how we continue to flourish with less water, and it’s very painful,” said Sarah Porter, director of the Kyl Center for Water Policy at Arizona State University.

Under the Level 1 cuts, Arizona will face the biggest reduction: 512,000 acre-feet, or about one-fifth of the state’s allotment from the Colorado River and about 8 percent of Arizona’s overall water supply. Farmers who rely on water from the Central Arizona Project canal will be most directly affected, local officials said.


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