FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — One of the main reservoirs in the vast Colorado River water system that is struggling to serve the booming Southwest will get more water this year, but that won’t be enough to pull Lake Mead back from near-record lows.
Water managers, farmers and cities throughout the region have been closely watching the elevation at the reservoir behind Hoover Dam. It is at its lowest level since the dam was complete and the lake first was filled in the 1930s.
A drop to 1,075 would mean cuts in water deliveries to Arizona and Nevada.
Despite the additional water, Lake Mead is projected to remain near record lows at 1,083 feet in January – three feet higher than it was Wednesday. That’s because more water will be delivered to cities, farms, American Indian communities and Mexico than Lake Mead will get from Lake Powell.
Some water managers and users have been saving water for potential dry days or preparing for an expected water shortage in 2016. Bureau of Reclamation spokeswoman Rose Davis said officials still are running numbers that would show the percentage chance of cuts in 2016. Those figures are expected to be released later this month.
The entire Colorado River system supplies water to California, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming and part of Mexico.