Possibility of unprecedented water shortage as Colorado River Basin reservoirs drop to near-record low levels | VailDaily.com

Possibility of unprecedented water shortage as Colorado River Basin reservoirs drop to near-record low levels

Bruce Finley
The Denver Post
photo - Grand Canyon Colorado

The Colorado River is seen at the bottom of the Grand Canyon on April 20, 2018. - The Grand Canyon is a steep-sided canyon carved by the Colorado River in Arizona, United States. The Grand Canyon is 277 miles (446 km) long, up to 18 miles (29 km) wide and attains a depth of over a mile (6,093 feet or 1,857 meters).

DENVER — The Colorado River is so strained amid population growth and a climate shift to hotter, drier conditions that federal water managers may declare an unprecedented "shortage" and cut releases from reservoirs.

The feds are imploring Western states to do more now to cut water use.

A U.S. Bureau of Reclamation forecast issued Wednesday for water in the Colorado River — an over-subscribed lifeline for 40 million people — anticipates declaration of a shortage in September 2019 that would trigger the reduced water releases from federal reservoirs in "lower basin" states including Nevada and Arizona.

Colorado and other "upper basin" states Utah, Wyoming and New Mexico would face increased scrutiny of flows from headwaters into the Lake Powell reservoir. On Wednesday, Lake Powell measured 49 percent full and Lake Mead measured 38 percent full.

Read the full story from The Denver Post.