Wednesday December 1, 2021

The Central Square

Arizona’s water authorities are close to entering into a new pact with officials from Nevada and California they hope will restore water levels at Lake Mead and stave off future rationing requirements.

A Tier 1 Colorado River water shortage begins in 2022, triggering a mandatory 512,000 acre-foot reduction to Arizona. The emergency stems from the Lake Mead reservoir reaching water levels not seen since its construction. The designation doesn’t affect Arizona residents, rather the state’s agriculture industry that represents the majority of water usage.

In hopes of keeping water levels in check, officials from the Lower Basin states and the federal Bureau of Reclamation are close to finalizing the 500+ Plan. The new pact doesn’t change existing water arrangements, but commits to additional conservation actions estimated to keep another 500,000 acre-feet of water that would have been distributed to remain in the river’s reservoirs.

The reduction, according to the Los Angeles Times, would be double what was agreed on in the 2019 drought contingency plan. Changes would begin in 2022 and last until 2026, if necessary.
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