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