For the first time since its construction in the 1930s, the federal government has officially declared a water shortage on Lake Mead, the country’s largest reservoir on the Colorado River.
Important reason: The Declaration issued by the Pioneer Department begins a series of water allocation reductions to the downstream states along the Colorado River.
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News promotion: Lake Mead is at record lows, below 1,075 feet above sea level, or 40% of its capacity. The projected lake water level in 2022 is also below that level, so reductions have been made.
The west is in dire straits In the worst drought of the century, and when seen for decades, scientists say the southwest Megadrought due to the first climate change Seen in the last 1200 years.
The water level of Lake Mead has been declining since around 1999.
Rising temperatures and reduced spring snowmelt reduced the amount of water flowing into the Colorado River from the Rocky Mountains, where the river begins, before it flowed into the Gulf of California. The same is true of the surge in water demand due to population growth and interest in thirsty agriculture.
A series of agreements manage the use of water from rivers and the reductions implemented when water levels fall below certain thresholds.
detail: Lake Powell’s water level is also declining, threatening Glen Canyon Dam’s power generation and threatening Glen Canyon Dam’s power generation of about 5 billion kilowatt hours each year.
This first reduction will have the greatest impact on Arizona farmers, as the state will be defeated. 18% share from the riverThat’s about 8% of the state’s total water usage, or 512,000 acre-foot. (1 acre-foot is enough water to cover 1 acre with 1 foot of water.)
Farmers in Arizona are likely to bear the brunt of water cuts and face the difficult choice of fallow fields or utilizing reduced groundwater supplies and other alternative water sources.
If the water allocation is reduced, Nevada will lose about 7% of its allocation, or 21,000 acre feet of water.
In Mexico, a reduction of about 5%, or 80,000 acre feet, is expected.
According to the Pioneer Department, the upper reaches of the Colorado River experienced a very dry spring in 2021, with an average of spills into Lake Powell from April to July, despite near-average snowfall last winter. It was only 26% of.
Interior ministry agencies predict that the amount of water that flows into Lake Mead without storing it behind the dam is only 32% of the average.
What they are saying: “It is clear that the magnitude and pace of climate change in the Colorado River basin poses a major threat to the water supply on which everything depends,” Kevin Moran, who heads the Colorado River program of the Environmental Defense Fund, told Axios.
“The Colorado River is the lifeline of many Arizona cities, tribal communities, and generations of farmers who depend on the Colorado River for water,” said Arizona Senator Mark Kelly, D. “Although the announcement by the Pioneer Department is serious, Arizona is preparing for these early water cuts through a drought emergency response plan on the lower Colorado River.”
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