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The familiar white 'bathtub rings' show dropping levels on Lake Mead. The reservoir’s stores have been falling for years, setting records for new all-time lows.

Cuts to water use along the Colorado River could be spread evenly across some Southwestern states, or follow the priority system that currently governs water management, as federal officials consider ways to keep hydropower generation going at the nation’s largest reservoirs. Read more»

Divers assess the Wahweap boat launch ramp at Lake Powell in July 2021. when falling low lake levels pulled the water’s edge back from the end of the ramp. State and federal officials are scrambling to come up with plans to protect the river and its reservoirs, gripped in a historic drought.

Federal officials said they will consider a plan by Arizona and five other Colorado River basin states on how to further cut water consumption, even though the biggest user in the basin – California – has not signed off on it. Read more»

Water levels in Colorado River reservoirs like Lake Mead, shown here in 2918, and Lake Powell continued to fall to dangerously low levels in 2022, triggering a series of cuts in the amount of water states can pull from the river beginning this year. And experts say they expect there will be more cuts to come.

Few Arizona residents will notice any immediate change to the availability of water after Jan. 1 - when cuts will be imposed on the amount of water the state can draw from the Colorado River - as officials struggle to keep Lakes Powell and Mead from falling to critically low levels. Read more»

'Climate change has come barging through the front doors of the Colorado basin,' said Jennifer Pitt, the Colorado River Program Director at the National Audubon Society.

Experts in government, agriculture, water management and the environment stressed during a U.S. Senate hearing on Wednesday the danger that droughts fueled by climate change pose in the West, including the Colorado River Basin. Read more»

Next year, water levels on Lake Mead, the largest reservoir on the Colorado River, are projected to drop to their lowest levels yet, triggering the first-ever official shortage declaration by the federal government. The declaration will cut Arizona’s Colorado River supplies by a fifth.

Hundreds of thousands of people have moved to the Phoenix area in recent years looking for affordable homes and sunshine, and home sales have increased by nearly 12 percent in 2020 due to the pandemic, but there's just one problem: The region doesn’t appear to have enough water for all the growth. Read more»

Congress has given its OK to a multistate drought contingency plan that determines how much each Colorado River Basin state is allowed to draw from the river if levels at Lake Mead, hit by years of drought, fall below a certain point.

Two weeks after water officials told Congress there was urgent need to approve the Colorado River drought contingency plan, the House and Senate both passed a plan Monday and sent it to the president’s desk. Read more»

Arizona Department of Water Resources Director Thomas Buschatzke said negotiations with groups inside the state on the possibility of giving up some water rights were difficult initially, but that all sides eventually came together.

The director of the Arizona Department of Water Resources told a U.S. Senate panel Wednesday there is an “urgent need” to authorize a multistate drought contingency plan for the Colorado River basin. Read more»

Arizona water managers have been recharging aquifers for years, 'banking' water for future use. The Drought Contingency Plan now being negotiated would further such efforts.

Negotiations on a drought plan for Arizona took a step forward Thursday when the head of the state water department said Gov. Doug Ducey will ask for $30 million in his upcoming budget proposal to help make the Drought Contingency Plan a reality. Read more»

Hoover Dam’s penstock towers take in water from Lake Mead and use it to generate electricity. With less water, the dam generates less electricity, so officials replaced some of the dam’s turbines to increase efficiency.

Lake Mead's dropping levels mean Arizona could lose its water allotment for the Central Arizona Project, which could lead to higher rates, and even restrictions. Conservation may be key to keeping water in everyone’s taps across the state. Read more»

Years of lingering drought and demand from growing cities have lowered Lake Mead water levels behind Hoover Dam. The situation has improved slightly recently, but the lake is still just 4 feet above the level that would trigger emergency conservation measures.

Arizona’s top water official told a congressional committee that even though the state has done a lot right, years of drought still threaten to push the region into a water emergency in the next few years. Read more» 1

Lake Mead showing the effects of drought in this file photo. Officials said that heavy spring rains recharged the lake to the point that they will not have to declare a water emergency next year, but that lingering drought remains a threat.

Unusually high rainfall in the Colorado River basin this spring helped boost Lake Mead water levels, averting a possible water emergency that would have triggered cuts in water allocations next year. Read more»

Washington Post reporter James Hohmann interviews Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, right, who talked about the city’s environmental successes and the need to fight for water rights.

Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton told a Washington panel Tuesday that Arizona is in a fight to make sure other states, particularly California, don’t take water “that rightfully belongs to the people of Arizona.” Read more»

Lingering drought and demand from growing cities have lowered Lake Mead water levels behind Hoover Dam. The lake could hit levels by August that trigger conservation measures.

Arizona wants more control of its water resources and more equity between as the ongoing drought in Western states brings the likelihood of further shortages to the region, a state official testified Tuesday. Read more»

An irrigation ditch carries water at A Tumbling-T Ranches in Goodyear.

Officials from the Arizona Department of Water Resources and CAP say decades of planning have prepared the state for a water shortage expected to be declared on the Colorado River. They say a shortage wouldn't immediately affect cities or industries. Read more»